The End of the One-Child Policy


Chinese families with more than one child are rare – now the government hopes that having more children will become a trend.

February 8th marks the first day of the Chinese Year of the Monkey. Spring Festival, which is the commonly used name for the New Year holidays, is the most important time for families in China to celebrate together, comparable to Christmas or Thanksgiving in other cultures. But what does “family” stand for these days?

On January 1st, China’s “One-Child Policy,” which was in place for over 30 years, became history. Now, every couple in China can have a second child. The Information Office of the China State Council announced that based on their investigations, over 80% of the Chinese people are willing to have two children, some even three. Considering the country’s aging population, these children are desperately needed for China’s future.

In order to promote the second child, China’s family planning policy has taken a huge turn, from encouraging late marriage and birth to exactly the opposite. Following the change of the Population and Family Planning Law of the Peoples Republic of China on December 27th, 2015, six provinces including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong quickly announced the cancellation of the 7 to 14 days of additional paid vacation for those getting married after a certain age. On the other hand, now 30 to 60 additional days will be awarded to all mothers giving birth to their first or second child to a minimum 128 days of maternity leave per birth.

But will the couples in China really welcome their second child as a “gift” they waited for? A survey by conducted in October 2015, indicates that only 28.4% of the 192,155 participants sampled are willing to have a second child.* One reason behind this result is most likely the high cost of raising a child in China. According to a calculation by Beijing News on November 1st, 2015, the cost of raising a second child in Beijing amounts to RMB 386,000 to RMB 1.43 million (approximately 55,000 to 200,000 Euro; for reference, in 2014 the disposable income per capita in Beijing amounted to RMB 43,910), excluding the expenses for taking special interest classes, medical care such as hospitalization, and probably the worst, excluding the additional cost of a larger apartment **. Without security for stable jobs and income, many young women in China tend to think that children are a burden to their living conditions and lifestyle. Also, increasingly elder people, who traditionally help taking care of their grandchild, say they have no interest in taking care of another child. It seems the Chinese government has a long way to go in changing the minds of their citizens.

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