China considers allowing second child for all couples

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-23 0:33:03

Younger generation unwilling to have second child: survey

China could further relax its one-child policy as early as this year to allow all couples across the country to have a second child, a report said on Wednesday.

Online polls show that a majority of Chinese support the second-child policy, but analysts say they are concerned that young couples have already showed less interest in having more children, citing economic and other reasons.

An anonymous researcher, who reportedly participated in a National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) survey, told China Business News that the second-child policy can be applied "as early as the end of 2015 if everything goes well."

The commission said in an earlier press conference that "the mission is to continue carrying out the second-child policy," which was perceived as the authority's first "active" response to the issue after it had repeatedly denied rumors that a comprehensive second-child policy was being considered.

Lu Jiehua, a professor of demographics at Peking University, told the Global Times that the NHFPC is likely to implement the revised policy in the near future but said "it's unlikely that the policy could be fully implemented in 2015 … probably next year, or at the beginning of China's 13th Five-Year Plan."

"It's not simply about implementing a second-child policy," said Lu. "All relevant policies, regulations, formalities and facilities need to be in place to support [the second-child policy], and it takes time."

Twenty-nine provinces and municipalities have relaxed the one-child policy to allow couples to have a second baby if either parent is from a single-child family.

China's one-child policy does not apply to ethnic minority groups, many of whom can have two to three children in a family.

 Thinning workforce

The full implementation of the second-child policy is "urgent" as it is expected to ease the pressure on an aging society, experts said.

"Relaxing the current policy meets public expectations," Mu Guangzong, a professor at Peking University's Institute of Population Research, told the Global Times. "The country needs to maintain a moderate fertility rate for a healthy and sustainable development, as the present fertility rate is low."

China suffered a third consecutive annual drop in its workforce in 2014, 3.7 million less than the previous year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics in January.

"If parents have a second child who will support them when they turn old, many risks could be reduced. And families will suffer less if their only child dies," added Mu.

About 11 million couples qualify to apply for a second child, according to an NHFPC report. However, only 1.45 million couples, or 13 percent, have applied as of May 2015.

The flesh is weak

About 56.8 percent of people born between 1980 and 1990 said they are unwilling to have a second child, according to a China Youth Daily survey in November 2014.

Those born after 1980 and after 1990 account for 69 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, of the policy's target group.

An online survey conducted by news portal showed that while 95 percent favor the policy, only 36 percent would have a second child. Among the 8,491 people surveyed, 87 percent already had a child.

Those surveyed cited four main reasons for not having a second child. They are economic pressure, being past the ideal reproductive age, the difficulty in taking care of two children and limited resources to offer the child a quality life.

Chen Heying, Liu Xin contributed to this story

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