Only 18% of couples in China apply to have second child

Updated: 2016-10-21 10:31


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Only 18% of couples in China apply to have second child

A girl plays with her newborn brother at a hospital in Nanjing, Jiangsu province,on Oct 24. 2014. [Photo/VCG]

China's latest family planning policy, which allows all parents to have a second child, is facing a major setback and demographic change seems irreversible, reported on October 20.

The report notes that only 18 percent of the 11 million qualified couples have applied to have a second child, since China loosened its decades-long one-child population policy in 2013.

Most couples in China, especially in the cities, have decided not to raise a second child as a result of fast-rising family expenses. The working class living in major Chinese cities simply cannot afford to have a second child. For example, a recent study shows only 12.5 percent of couples are willing to raise a second child in Shanghai. There are also some families that have chosen to respect the wishes of their first child and not have a second child.

The release of the second-child policy was aimed at alleviating the problems of an aging population and the gender imbalance in China, but policy-makers are not satisfied on its progress so far.

There is about 220 million people aged 60 or above in China currently, which makes up about 16 percent of the population.

This number is rapidly growing, and is expected to reach 23 percent by 2050, meaning that for every four people in China one will be elderly. It is predicted that the second-child policy will take about 20 years before it has an effect, according to a recent AFP report.

China may have to face the stark reality of a quickly aging population with a reduced workforce, as a result of the one-child policy that existed in the country for more than 30 years, the AFP report said.