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December 14, 2012

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2012's newborns set to equal city's deaths

THE number of babies born in Shanghai with registered permanent residency is expected to equal deaths in the city this year, ending 19 years of negative natural growth.

The natural growth rate last year was minus 0.68 per 1,000 of the registered population, officials said yesterday.

"The rate is about zero this year," said Huang Hong, director of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission.

About 220,000 children are expected to be born in Shanghai this year, 40,000 more than last year, with more born to couples eligible to have a second child and to the city's growing migrant population.

About 660,000 migrant people came to Shanghai each year from 2006 to 2010. There were 400,000 new arrivals last year and about 300,000 this year.

By the end of September this year, Shanghai had 23.71 million residents, 14.21 million with registered residency.

"Under such tendency, the city's residents will approach 25 million," Huang said. "The large population is a challenge to city management and social resources."

In 2004, Shanghai ended a 10-year run of negative natural growth of the total population.

The city then experienced a baby boom which began in 2006 and is expected to last until 2017. Since 2007, more than 160,000 babies have been born each year. The 220,000 figure for this year will be the highest since 2000 and is considered the peak of the current baby boom.

"Though we have a rising number of newborn babies, the aging problem doesn't get better," Huang said.

But she said the aging society wasn't directly caused by the family planning policy although it had sped the process.

Huang said the aging society was a problem for countries with no family planning policy too. The fact that fewer young people were opting to have children was common throughout the world.


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