Wor­ries dampen 2nd-child wish

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN MENGWEI chen­meng­wei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than half of Chi­nese par­ents do not want a sec­ond child, and 25 per­cent re­main hes­i­tant, ac­cord­ing to a new study that high­lights the chal­lenges fac­ing ef­forts to in­ject new blood into an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.

The re­port, re­leased on Thurs­day by the All China Women’s Fed­er­a­tion and Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity, found that 62 per­cent of par­ents in de­vel­oped re­gions alone are un­will­ing to have a sec­ond child de­spite their rel­a­tive fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity in China.

Re­searchers in­ter­viewed 10,155 par­ents whose chil­dren are un­der age 15.

The par­ents, from 21 cities across 10 prov­inces, came from var­i­ous eco­nomic and re­gional back­grounds, such as the well-off eastern and south­ern coastal ar­eas, cen­tral pop­u­lous re­gions and moun­tain­ous western ar­eas. They in­cluded ur­ban res­i­dents, mi­grant work­ers and ru­ral vil­lagers.

Yet wher­ever they lived, they shared four ma­jor con­cerns. Eighty-three per­cent said they did not want a sec­ond child be­cause they feared they would be un­able to get them into a kinder­garten or a de­cent school. The other main con­cerns were about the qual­ity of baby prod­ucts, the en­vi­ron­ment and ac­cess to health­care.

Wang Yun, a pro­fes­sor of child psy­chol­ogy at Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity who led the re­search, said she was sur­prised to find how many peo­ple were put off by a lim­ited ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion.

“When we be­gan the study in April, I talked with friends and col­leagues on my cam­pus. Most seemed happy to have a sec­ond child,” she said. “But maybe that’s be­cause we’re a lucky group. We don’t need to worry about our kids go­ing to kinder­garten or school, be­cause the univer­sity pro­vides that for us. Plus, as pro­fes­sors, we don’t need to be in the of­fice ev­ery day. That makes life eas­ier for us, com­pared with many oth­ers.”

Wang said the govern­ment should in­vest more in ed­u­ca­tion and health­care to make it more ac­ces­si­ble for all par­ents who want a sec­ond child.

The China Na­tional Com­mit­tee on Ag­ing fore­casts that the coun­try will have 400 mil­lion peo­ple age 60 or older by 2033, rep­re­sent­ing a growth rate of 10 mil­lion a year. At that rate, more than one-third of the pop­u­la­tion in 2050 will be se­nior cit­i­zens.

To re­verse the ag­ing trend, the cen­tral govern­ment re­laxed the fam­ily plan­ning pol­icy start­ing this year, al­low­ing ev­ery fam­ily to have two chil­dren.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.