China's two-child policy evokes poor response from couples

Beijing: China's new two-child policy has evoked a poor response from young couples as they are reluctant to have a second child due to the high cost of living, an official survey has found.

The survey, conducted by state-run China Youth Daily among 3,000 people, more than half of them women, found that although 46 per cent of the respondents expressed a willingness to have a second child, 52 per cent said they are worried that having one more child would reduce the standard of living they now enjoy.

The unenthusiastic response from public after vigorous implementation of the controversial one child policy is regarded as set back for China's plans to arrest its demographic crisis and create a big pool of labour force in the next few decades.

People are vocal in expressing reluctance to have a second child and the policy has also evoked poor response. Lei Lei, a Beijing resident whose daughter is two-year-old, said she does not want to give birth to another child.

"The cost of raising a child is high, and having another child will add to our already heavy financial burden," the 28-year-old said.

However, Wang Libo, a professor of population studies at Shenyang Normal University in Northeast China's Liaoning province, said that raising a second child does not necessarily lead to a lower standard of living.

"Having another child doesn't mean parents have to buy a brand-new set of everything for the new baby. Many things used by the first child, can be shared ," she said. But Wang Haifeng, whose son is in fourth grade, disagreed, saying she believed that "children's education is actually the major field of cost".

"My son's tutorial classes alone cost me 30,000 to 40,000 yuan (USD 6670) each year. We also have to bring him out for trips and traveling in hopes of broadening his horizons. I don't think we can afford a second child," Wang said.

Official estimate that the two-child policy which is expected to come into effect from early next year will generate 30 million labour force by 2050 besides increasing economic growth rate by 0.5 per cent.

The change in policy is expected to mean over 30 million more people in the labor force by 2050 and an decrease of two percentage points in the share of elderly of Chinese population, Wang Peian, deputy head of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said recently.

Statistics from the NHFPC shows the population aged between 15 to 64 in China is around one billion in 2015 and will reduce to 830 million by 2050.

Only 13 per cent of 1.45 million eligible parents applied for permission to have second child under earlier policy to permit couples from one child families to have a second child. By the end of May, 1.45 million couples with one parent being an only child had applied to have a second baby from all over the country, NHFPC official as saying.

The poor response to the limited relaxation reportedly prompted the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to end deacde long one-child policy which will enable over 90 million couples to have a second child.

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