Provincial Efforts to Boost Birth Rate Misplaced
In response to China's low birth rate many provinces and regions including Liaoning, Shaanxi, Hubei and Xinjiang, have issued various policies to encourage childbirth, such as prolonging paid maternity leave and granting maternity allowances.
China lifted its ban on having a second baby on January 1, 2016, only to find that the birth rate did not rise as expected. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China saw 17.23 million babies born in 2017, 630,000 fewer than in 2016.
Yet, as the policies generally relate to material encouragement, analysts doubt if they will truly have an impact. Experts say a forbidding environment for moms and moms-to-be, which includes employment discrimination, little respect for stay-at-home moms and a lack of baby-care facilities in public places, has contributed to the declining birth rate. On August 8, the Party-run People’s Daily published a commentary in its overseas edition urging the Chinese government to set up an overall, systemic institution to encourage women to have more babies.