Chinese couples becoming more reluctant to raise two kids, blaming high “living costs” and inconvenience of having a “babysitter” in small apartments.
China’s move to drop its “one-child policy” in 2016, to help address the aging issue, by permitting couples to raise two children, has reportedly not “motivated” a large number of parents to have bigger families.
A top official said rising living costs and having no one to babysit a child were two reasons preventing Chinese parents from giving birth to their second child.
“While couples could trust their first-born to the child’s grandparents, it was tough for elderly relatives to help take care of a second grandchild. It was also too costly and inconvenient to have a babysitter with small apartments,” Wang explained.
Couples in their 20s or 30s no longer shared the traditional “belief” that having more children means more “blessings.” Young couples prefer “quality parenting” when organizing their own family.
Those remarks were made by Wang Pei’an, deputy director of the National Committee of the CPPCC Population Resources and Environment Committee and vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
He spoke in the sixth episode of the Members’ Lecture Hall series, produced by the General Office of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
The vice-minister also believed that “infertility” was also a factor behind the low birth rates. To solve these problems, Wang suggested the government should boost spending and provide “daycare” for infants up to the age of three.
Couples of childbearing age should be motivated with “welfare benefits, including family planning leave, paternity leave, plus family and maternity insurance.”
Tax incentives could be an expenses “deduction” for elderly parents who support families, or “tax relief” for those who fulfill the two-child policy.
In the long run, officials should also explore the possibility of establishing of a “flexible working system for new mothers, assisting women’s balance between family and work, and ensuring women’s employment rights to encourage childbearing.”