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November 23, 2011

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Age shift cited in rising births

SHANGHAI'S rising birth rate last year was caused by a big jump in the number of women in their child-bearing years, according to the latest population census.

At the end of last year, the city had more than 6.8 million women between the ages of 15 and 50, an increase of 38.7 percent from 10 years earlier, the Shanghai Statistics Bureau said yesterday.

The census results showed that for the year ending October 31, 2010, some 159,000 babies - holding permanent residence certificates or not - were born in Shanghai. That reflected an increase of 1.6 births per 1,000 women from the 2000 statistics.

Up to the end of last year, the number of Shanghai-registered women of birth age actually dropped by 429,600 from 2000, but there were 2.3 million more migrant women in that age group.

Officials said women in their 20s increased the fastest during the past decade, pushing up the city's birth rate.

The census also showed that people with higher educational backgrounds gave birth to fewer children than others over their lifetimes. As of last year, women in Shanghai gave birth to 0.8 children on average, among which people with postgraduate education background had 0.36 children and those who went to college had 0.37 children. Those who had never been to school, however, had 1.8 children on average, said the bureau.

The city's baby boom has continued for at least six years. A peak was reached in 2007-2008, the "Golden Year of Pig" on the lunar calendar.

In that lunar year, more than 160,000 babies were born in the city, as parents believed that a baby born in the year would have luck and fortune for all their life.

But the baby boom didn't cease after that year. This year, about 180,000 babies are expected to be born in Shanghai, the most since 2000. And next year, the number will be similar, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said.

Experts said the baby boom will continue in the city until possibly 2017.`


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