Number of ‘left-behind kids’ drops due to rural development drive
As of the end of August, China had 6.97 million “left-behind children” in the countryside, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The number decreased 22.7 percent, compared to 9.02 million in 2016.
In China, “left-behind children” refers to rural kids whose parents both work in far-away urban centers.
Some 96 percent of leftbehind rural children are taken care of by their grandparents.
Sichuan Province has the largest number of left-behind children, at 765,000. It is followed by the provinces of Anhui, Hunan, Henan, Jiangxi, Hubei and Guizhou. The top seven provinces altogether accommodate 4.84 million left-behind children, accounting for 69.5 percent of the total number in China.
Boys make up 54.5 percent of left-behind children, and girls 45.5 percent.
According to the ministry, 99.4 percent of the children are healthy. The remainder are disabled or sick, accounting for 42,000 people.
In terms of age, 89.1 percent of the left-behind children are under 14 years old. Some 21.7 percent of the left-behind children are under 5 years old, 67.4 percent are 6 to 13, and 10.9 percent are 14 to 16.
The number of left-behind children who registered for compulsory education rose from 65.3 percent to 71.4 percent. It is noted that 7.1 percent of left-behind children have not attended kindergarten.
The national policies of recent years have helped to decrease the number of leftbehind children. The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council have made decisions to alleviate poverty, construct “new-type urbanization” and revitalize rural areas. Local governments have vigorously promoted projects encouraging people to return home to start businesses, find jobs for poverty alleviation and enroll children accompanying their parents in local schools. They have also strengthened guidance for parents. Some parents returned to the countryside for kids and live with them together.