China Looks to Boost Fertility Rates by Reducing the Cost of Childbirth and Childcare
A Chinese health official, Yang Wenzhuang, the Director of Department of Population Monitoring and Family Development under the National Health Commission (NHC), has called for “bold” actions to be taken by local governments to alleviate the financial burden on families associated with having children and raising them. This, according to a recent report from a state-backed publication. According to Reuters, the aim is to enhance fertility rates and mitigate the impact of China’s declining population, which saw its first decline in six decades last year.
Impact of high education costs on childbearing
The cost of education is having a significant impact on childbearing in China. The high costs associated with educating children are deterring many families from having more than one child or, in some cases, any children at all. This has led to a declining birth rate in the country, which has major implications for both the economy and society as a whole.
In a country where the cost of education is rapidly rising, many parents are struggling to meet the demands of financing their children’s education. This has caused many families to put their plans for having children on hold, as they try to save money and ensure they can afford to provide their children with a good education.
The decline in population has major implications for China’s economy, as it is expected to lead to a rapidly aging population, which will result in a decline in revenue, an increase in government debt, and a surge in health and welfare costs. Demographers have warned that China is at risk of getting old before it becomes rich.
Reducing cost of childbirth in China
Yang emphasized the significance of providing families with adequate support and resources to boost fertility rates. He stressed the importance of considering family support as a crucial factor in improving the country’s demographic outlook.
According to Yang Wenzhuang, the Director of Department of Population Monitoring and Family Development under the National Health Commission (NHC) in China, concerns regarding money and career development are the primary reasons for people choosing not to have children. He emphasized the need for precise policies to improve the fertility rate and stated that local governments should take active measures to reduce the cost of childbirth, childcare, and education. In his comments, which were published in the latest issue of NHC-managed magazine, Population and Health, Yang urged the Chinese government to “firmly grasp the important window period of population development” during its 14th five-year plan, which runs until 2025. This plan should include the acceleration of “the promotion of childbearing support” to ensure the long-term balanced development of the population.
China’s declining population
China’s population has been shrinking, with a drop of approximately 850,000 people recorded for a total population of 1.41175 billion in 2022, marking the first decline since 1961. This can be attributed, in part, to China’s previous one-child policy, which was in effect from 1980 to 2015, as well as the high cost of education, which has deterred many people from having more than one child or any children at all.
Fertility rate in China
The birth rate in China last year was 6.77 births per 1,000 people, a decrease from 7.52 births in 2021, and the lowest birth rate on record. According to the United Nations, China’s population is expected to shrink by 109 million by 2050, which is more than triple the decline from their previous forecast in 2019.
However, steps are being taken to address the demographic downturn. For example, health authorities in the Sichuan province announced in January that they would allow unmarried individuals to raise a family and enjoy benefits reserved for married couples, starting on February 15. Additionally, some provinces, including Shaanxi, announced this week that they would provide up to 5,000 yuan ($735.29) to sperm donors to boost sperm banks.
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