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Shanghai gears up for baby boom
( 2003-11-18 10:09) (eastday.com)

Shanghai is in for a baby boom from 2006 to 2009 when the newborn population will hit 165,600 per year, double the present figure, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Committee said Monday.

Shanghai now has 17 million permanent residents, with some 86,000 babies born by the end of this year. The birth rate is 5 per 1,000. The city, which had baby booms in the 1950s and 1980s, has maintained a negative natural curve for 10 straight years.

"The birth peak will result in many social problems, including schooling, employment and improper distribution of social resources," said Xie Lingli, director of the committee. "To ensure a steady newborn count and direct the public to choose a more reasonable time to deliver babies and avoid the peak, the committee this year began forecasting population trends once or twice a year."

Backed by 4,783 population and family planning service centers in neighborhoods, officials will enhance education on birth control and help couples choose a right time to deliver their babies so that newborns can enjoy quality and health, officials added.

Meanwhile, the committee surveyed 20,649 people aged between 18 to 30 years in six districts - Xuhui, Jing'an, Pudong, Baoshan, Songjiang and Fengxian - to get first-hand information about child bearing.

The poll found 4.48 percent respondents didn't want to have babies, while 81.47 wanted one child, 13.7 percent two children and 0.35 percent three or more kids, for a cumulative average of 1.1 baby - a low birth rate.

"The number of children people want has been dipping. The five surveys in 1983, 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2003, show the desire for babies has on average fallen from 2.04 to 1.1," said Xie. "With fast economic development and promotion of family planning, young people's attitude toward bearing children has changed."

Though it is generally believed women are more fond of kids, the survey found that males are also eager to have offsprings.

The percentage of male respondents wanting one child was 81.13 percent compared with 81.82 for females; 14.79 percent males wanted two kids, the figure for the fair sex being 12.61 percent.

Most weren't concerned about the gender of the child but those who wanted a daughter numbered slightly more.

Officials said people with higher education and better income were more likely to have children.

"Because higher education means better financial condition and such people are worried about the negative effects of having just one kid, a two-child family is perfect for them. They believe it will provide a healthy environment for the kids," Xie added.

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