Surveys in Chinese cities show only 4% of urban families have willingness to have third child
Published: Jul 06, 2021 05:48 PM
Third child. Photo:VCG

Third child. Photo:VCG

A number of cities in China have conducted surveys on families' willingness to have a third child. These surveys have shown that few families are willing to have a third child especially those in urban areas as about only 4 percent of urban families are ready to have a third child. 

The latest surveys have been carried out in cities such as East China's Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces. According to previous media reports, East China's Jiangxi, Southwest China's Sichuan, and Northwest China's Shaanxi provinces have also conducted similar surveys. The surveys came after China relaxed family planning policy to allow couples to have a third child on May 31 and they show that the policy is more preferable for families aged from 30 to 40.

Zhai Zhenwu, president of the School of Sociology and Population Studies at the Renmin University of China, believes that the actual third-child birth rate might be lower than the number of people saying they are willing to have a third child.

Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province, conducted the survey with 205 residents aged 20 to 49 in June and found that only 4.4 percent of the participants have intention to have three children or more, while a staggering 55.6 percent said they would prefer two children. Participants who temporarily don't want any child accounted for 5.4 percent, and only 5 percent who had already had a second child wanted to have a third.

Among the respondents, 11.8 percent of rural residents are willing to have a third child, 8.9 percentage points higher than urban residents as rural residents have less financial pressures. 

Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province, conducted a similar survey on 303 families in June. According to the survey, 92.08 percent of the families do not want to have a third child and only 3.63 percent plan to have a third child in two years. The financial pressures, especially education costs, have become the main influencing factors for the lack of enthusiasm in having three children.

Among the surveyed rural families, 10.2 percent are willing to have a third child, and 6.12 percent plan to have a third child within one year. Among urban families, 7.48 percent are willing to have a third child, and 4.72 percent intend to consider such a plan after three years or longer.

Rural residents are more influenced by traditional concepts such as "having more children and gain more happiness" and "raising children to support parents in their old age." In addition, rural families are also more influenced by the elderly who have higher desire to have more children.

Experts suggest that increasing the supply of quality education resources, promoting the fair and balanced development of education, improving social security and medical care systems and keeping prices down, and improving the maternity leave policy and protecting women' legitimate rights and interests are some of the ways to encourage families to have more children.

Zhai told the Global Times that encouraging families to have more children can ease future labor shortages but won't change the trend of fertility decline. He pointed out that the focus should be to improve the quality of life and labor productivity which may help to reduce the demand for labor and lessen social pressure.