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'High costs' may be why Xiamen couples in no hurry to have second child

By Sun Li in Xiamen | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-31 07:54

Couples in Xiamen, Fujian province, are not rushing to have a second baby, as less than 20 percent of couples eligible to have a second child have applied to do so, according to the latest data released by the Xiamen Health and Family Planning Commission.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress endorsed the two-child policy in late 2013, allowing couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child. Fujian province relaxed the one-child policy on March 31.

According to the commission, 25,000 couples are entitled to have a second child in Xiamen, but until Sept 30, only 4,220 couples had applied for permission.

The majority of the eligible couples are those who were born in the 1980s, and couples aged between 25 and 32 account for 60 percent.

Li Yurong, deputy director of the Haicang district family planning bureau, said the majority of those who applied to have a second baby are people in stable employment with high earnings.

He said many of those couples work for the government, State-owned companies and schools, with some families' annual revenue exceeding 200,000 yuan ($32,700).

"One major concern for many couples considering a second baby is the high cost of living," Li said.

Guan Guoxin, a Xiamen resident who works for a private company, said although he is entitled to have a second child, he won't do so because raising his 3-year-old daughter has already consumed much money and energy.

"The second baby would put me under heavier pressure," Guan said.

Fuzhou University sociologist Gan Mantang said he is not surprised that people are reluctant to have a second baby, given the post-1980 generation, the major demographic group of those who are entitled to have a second child, may not have been well-prepared after the two-child policy came out.

"These young adults tend to have fun and enjoy life for several years, so they are in no hurry to have a second baby," he said.

"Still, giving birth to a second child needs to be encouraged as the low birthrate is leading to accelerated population aging," he added.

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