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Shanghai residents reluctant to have 2nd child

Updated: 2014-04-24 02:34
By WANG HONGYI in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Shanghai people who were born in the 1980s are not rushing to have a second baby, with 40 percent of them saying one child is enough, according to a new survey.

This survey was conducted by Fudan University as part of the university's study of the Yangtze River Delta's social transformation. The survey's goal is to explore the attitudes of people born in the 1980s in the Yangtze River area and their feelings toward family, marriage, employment, migration, housing, childbearing, child education and care for aged parents.

The research team has finished the survey in Shanghai, collecting 2,367 questionnaires.

The survey found that 40 percent of the generation born in the 1980s said one baby is enough, while 56 percent said two babies is preferable.

Respondents with a higher educational background expressed more willingness to consider having a second baby.

About two-thirds of the respondents who have a bachelor's degree or above believe having two babies is preferable.

The city has more than 2 million families in which both parents are the only child. But over the past five years, only about 13,000 families applied to have another child. And in practice, fewer than 8,000 families have had a second baby, according to figures released by the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission in late 2013.

This also indicated that there wouldn't be too much of an increase in the city's population even after the family planning policy was relaxed, experts said.

Shanghai loosened the one-child policy effective March 1, allowing couples to have a second kid if either parent is an only child.

And in the first month after the city relaxed the policy, more than 1,700 couples with one spouse who grew up as an only child received approval to have a second baby, accounting for about 60.8 percent of the total second-child applications, according to the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission.

A recent poll conducted by China Daily and Touchmedia, a provider of media in taxis, said the high cost of living is the major concern for couples considering a second baby.

"From milk powder, diapers, clothing to various toys and early-education programs, everything adds up. My husband and I already are under great pressure from raising one child," said a woman surnamed Yang, who has a 3-year-old daughter.

"It will be more joyful to have two kids in the family, but such thoughts change when seeing various bills," she said.

Generally, respondents born in the 1980s have a good education, and 66 percent have a higher education background. Besides that, they have a higher employment rate and are stable in their job. More than 40 percent of them have not changed their job in the past four years. The average annual salary of those polled is about 60,000 yuan ($9,600), and more than half of them earn 3,000 to 10,000 yuan, the report said.

When talking about attitudes toward love and marriage, more than 40 percent said they lived with their spouse before getting married, and about 70 percent moved in together within a year after establishing a relationship, the survey said.

It also found that the more time a couple lived together before marriage, the more satisfied they felt about their married life. Those who spent 25 months to 36 months together were the most satisfied.

Besides that, only 5 percent of respondents said they could accept a "naked marriage", or getting married without significant assets.

The generation born in the 1980s grew up entirely under the country's one-child policy and experienced the country's reform era, and it accounts for about 5.6 million people in Shanghai.

"This generation accounts for a major part of China's adult demographic group. To investigate this demographic group will help the study on society's transformation," said Peng Xizhe, director of the State Innovative Institute for Public Management and Public Policy Studies at Fudan University.

The university will also carry out surveys in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.