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Shanghai no longer encourages DINK family
Updated: 2004-09-07 16:58

Shanghai, after witnessing consecutive negative population growth in the past 11 years, now discourages young couples to become DINK (double income no kid) families and allows eligible couples to have their second child.

The metropolis has stopped granting rewards to couples who choose not to have children, revealed Xia Yi, deputy director of Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

According to the new regulation on population and family planning of Shanghai that came into effect on April 15 this year, 11 types of families could apply to bear a second child - if both the husband and wife are single child of their respective families, and if they are remarried couples and have the desire to have another child.

The Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission statistics indicate that in the four months after the new policy went into effect, the number of applications for second child increased by a large margin.

Xia said the applicants come mainly from two groups - those earning high incomes and those residents with low incomes.

In the past 11 years, Shanghai saw a consecutive negative increase of population. In 2003, the number of net births among the city's permanent residents was 57,000, but the number of deaths stood at 100,700, meaning a natural growth rate of -3.24 per thousand.

Officials said the average size of families in Shanghai is also shrinking. In 1949, the average family had 4.9 people, but the size dropped to 3.1 in 1990 and 2.8 in 2000, indicating the one-child policy is working and many couples even decided not to have any children.

Xia explained that many couples choose not to have children because of rising costs to bring up children and their concerns of potential unemployment.

Young parents, especially young women who received better education, declined to bear children or bear children at their prime child-bearing age, lest their promising future be spoiled by the birth of the babies.

However, Xia pointed out, few children could cause problems in the future, as aging society has become a problem in the city. "The society could hardly develop in a healthy way without multiplying."

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