While the one-child policy itself is actually loosening up a bit in China, it seems that couples are choosing to go the single kid route anyway… because of how much it would cost to raise one.
A survey by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group found that Chinese couples are now delaying having children by an average of 2.1 years, more often than not because of housing and economic reasons.
64% of the 3,262 respondents said they would first want to own home before starting a family. The problem is a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Shanghai can easily cost 9000RMB/month – hardly within the average income range of 8000 RMB of a Chinese couple.
Interestingly enough, families not taking advantage of the “two-child policy” – a rule enacted over a decade ago that allows a pair who were only children themselves to have two kids, could lead to severe consequences in China’s social and economic structure.
In 2007, China Daily reported that more that 20% of Shanghai’s population is now over the age of 60. By 2020, the proportion is expected to rise to about 34%.The rapidly aging population is putting pressure of the city’s welfare and medical services, since there’s not enough of the next generation to support them.
Meanwhile, many are predicting the end of China being able to keep up as the world’s sweatshop factory – as the number of youth dwindle. According to The Australian:
“The number of 15 to 24-year-olds has peaked and is expected to decline steadily, Royal Bank of Scotland economist Ben Simpfendorfer says.
“Yet, China’s economy is heavily reliant on its youth; they are suited to the physically demanding work on factory floors and construction sites, and are typically better educated.”
The unexpected results of the one-child policy are becoming increasingly obvious and while there are no plans yet for a reversal of the rule, what will happen if, even if they did tried, nobody took up the offer?