China's newborn number dips by over 2 million in 2018

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China’s measures to encourage couples to have a second child fell short of tangible results in the year 2018 which witnessed continuous drops in birth rates in most provinces which had published reports on population changes.

According to Chinese demographers, the number of newborns in 2018, the third year after Beijing fully implemented the two-child policy, may have dropped by over 2 million.

Although the National Statistics Bureau and National Health Commission have not released the data for the birth of newborns in 2018, information revealed by local governments have all pointed to a considerable drop in births.

There were 64,753 births in Liaocheng in East China’s Shandong Province, one of China’s most populous provinces, in the first 11 months of 2018, a fall of 26 percent from the same period in 2017, reported Beijing-based finance magazine Caixin.

In East China’s Jiangsu Province, births in the first half of 2018 plunged 12.8 percent on a year-on-year basis to 383,000, according to Caixin.

Other provinces like Guizhou and Hubei also witnessed a drop in the number of newborns in the first half of 2018, reported news website 21jingji.com.

Due partly to economic burden, particularly skyrocketing housing prices as well as education and medical care, more young couples in China today no longer consider having a second child.

Surveys showed that on average raising a child in a Chinese city can cost over half of a family’s income.

Health concerns, inadequate housing, and career advancement are among other main factors which undermined young couples’ willingness to give birth to a second child.

Meanwhile, the number of women between the ages of 20 and 39 is expected to drop by over 39 million over the next decade, which might lead to further birth decrease, warned demographers.

This trend could have a far-reaching impact on China’s economic and social development, including less manpower, shrinking buying power and more pension burdens to support the ageing population, according to Hua Changchun, an economist with Guotai Junan Securities in Shanghai.

For years China had benefited from demographic dividends. With its massive population which provided plenty of manpower and enormous market potentials, the country’s economy has experienced a boom over the past decades.

Beijing introduced the toughest one-child policy in 1979, a year after the reform and opening up policy to curb the then-time population explosion.

The policy was strictly enforced for decades, particularly in urban areas, and those caught violating one-child policy could be fined, lose their jobs, or face forced abortions and sterilization,

However, currently China still has the largest population of over 1.3 billion.


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