Num­ber of ‘left-be­hind kids’ drops due to ru­ral de­vel­op­ment drive

Global Times US Edition - - CHINA -

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.

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