The biggest lifestyle trends to watch

Updated: 2016-01-02 02:59

(China Daily USA)

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Apart from economic and government matters, there were also notable happenings in society that affected residents in numerous areas including family, travel, fitness and lifestyle. From the historic lifting of the one-child policy to the Disney craze that has engulfed the city, here are the issues that most impacted residents of Shanghai and their way of life. Wang Ying, Zhou Wenting and Yu Ran report.

Abolishing the decades- long one-child policy

The biggest lifestyle trends to watch

The two-child policy takes effect in China on Jan 1, 2016, which is intended to balance population development. GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

In a bid to address the issues posed by a fast-aging population, the Chinese government decided in October to adopt a universal two-child policy, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2016.

This new policy replaces the decades-long one which stipulated that a couple could only have one child and is expected to add between 10,000 and 20,000 new births to the city, said Zhou Haiwang, deputy director of the Institute of Urban and Population Development Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning estimates that the population of newborns in the city will hit 230,000 each year in the coming two years. Experts say that the higher birthrate will be crucial to mitigating the effects of societal issues caused by an aging population, such as the need for more medical resources to care for the elderly and a shortage of manpower in the workforce.

According to the 2014 Shanghai Statistical Yearbook, minors below the age of 17 form only 10 percent of the total household population, while those aged 60 and above account for about 30 percent.

“The speed of aging will accelerate and the elderly population will rise from the current 4 million to 5 million by 2018, and the proportion of seniors above age 80 will grow even larger,” said Yin Zhigang, director of Shanghai Research Center on Aging.

Hospitals are already making preparations to handle the increase in maternity cases. The Changning Maternity and Child Health Hospital is currently planning to open an outpatient clinic that will provide consultation and risk evaluation for women who are preparing to have their second child.

Xu Yuan, who has worked as a maternity matron in the city for 11 years, said the number of people in her profession, as well as workers in postnatal care centers, will see a boom in the coming years.

“Many care-givers and maids have already identified this business opportunity and have swarmed into the industry,” said Xu.

A survey conducted by the Shanghai Women’s Federation and Fudan University polled women in the fertile age bracket in Shanghai’s five districts and found that only 15 percent of them intended to have a second child if possible.

“The percentage of couples ready to have a second child may be insignificant but people will change their minds when more incentives are unveiled to help families with the upbringing of the children,” said Zhou.

Marathon fever catches among local runners

The biggest lifestyle trends to watch

Shanghai runners have in recent years caught the marathon fever. LAI XINLIN / CHINA DAILY

Although the Shanghai International Marathon has increased its participation limit to 35,000 from 5,000 since its inception in 1996, there is still a massive number of people who are unable to join the event.

Marathon organizers said that they received a total of 126,789 applications for the 2015 event on Nov 8, though the oversubscription in 2014 was very much higher — Labour Daily reported that the 18,000 vacancies for the marathon and half marathon attracted more than 2.3 million applicants in 2015. The event is divided into four running categories — marathon, half marathon, 10 kilometers and exercise.

The Shanghai International Marathon welcomed its 20th anniversary in 2015. The organizer had launched a separate half-marathon event in Shanghai in May 2015, making the city the nation’s only location to have both marathon and half-marathon events.

Former Olympic hurdles champion Liu Xiang took part in the 10 km race in 2015 and he said that he was planning to complete in the half marathon segment the next time round. The 31-year-old Shanghai-born athlete announced his retirement earlier in April.

There were 56 marathons held across China in 2015 and it was reported that revenue generated through such events reached 2 billion yuan in 2014. Industry experts expect this figure to exceed 10 billion yuan ($310 million) in 2015, while marathon-related industries could reap revenues of 30 billion yuan, reported Nanfang Daily.