Shanghai lawmakers on Tuesday approved the amended family planning policy permitting couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child.
Shanghai Daily reports that the measure will take effect on Saturday, adding that around 20,000 to 30,000 babies are expected to be born each year as a result of the move.
The city is facing a seriously unbalanced population structure with too few children and a growing number of elderly people, they added.
At present, children under 14 years old account for just 8.8 percent of the registered population, while 25.7 percent are over 60.
In recognition of that fact, Shanghai hasn’t set the requirements for a second child imposed in Beijing and Tianjin, where mothers have to be at least 28 before having a second baby or the first child has to be at least four years old before the second is born.
Shanghai women are just over 27, on average, when they get married and have their first child when they are almost 29, Zhang said. “The interval between two children for couples with both spouses from a one-child family is 3.8 years. So there is no need to set such a hurdle.”
China formally approved easing the much loathed one-child policy on December 28, the same day the controversial “re-education through labor” camp system was abolished.
Under the new policy, couples are allowed to have two children if one of the parents is an only child, whereas previously, law required both parents to be only children in order to have a second child.
Many parents in China, however, say that they don’t plan on taking advantage of the amended family planning policy, as the cost of child-rearing is too much.
In Shanghai, the desire to have a second child was never strong, even among couples eligible to do so under the old policy.
Only 42 percent of Shanghai couples who were able to expressed the desire to have a second child between 2008 and 2012, and only 10 percent of those couples actually applied, according to Shanghai Daily.
Still, the city has ensured that all maternity and health care services are fully prepared for the influx of babies predicted to be born this year.
“There are 3,600 maternity beds in the city, which sees about 200,000 newborn babies a year. The extra 20,000 to 30,000 babies won’t impose too much pressure on local hospitals,” Huang Hong, the commission’s vice director, told the Daily.
A woman in Anhui gave birth to a baby son on Sunday after becoming the first to receive a birth permit for a second child.
[Image Credit: nothing is impossible for a willing heart]