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October 27, 2011

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More in city would like 2 children

About 40 percent of local women want to have two children, according to a survey carried out by the city's population authorities.

The Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission surveyed 21,900 women between 15 and 49 years old, among which 11,800 were Shanghai-registered, finding that the ideal number of children is 1.43 for Shanghai women overall. Migrant women wanted about 0.3 more children than permanent residents.

A similar survey carried out in 2009 showed Shanghai women were interested in having only 1.07 children each, while migrant ones wanted 1.33, officials said.

Education background is closely correlated with women's procreation desires, with women holding bachelor's degrees or higher and those with only primary school education background wanting more children than women with middle amounts of education.

"The results of the survey reflect people's procreation concept as well as their abilities of raising children," said Xie Lingli, director of the commission.

Under the country's present family-planning policy, however, not everyone is qualified to have two children. Currently, couples can have a second child under certain conditions, such as both spouses being from one-child families or a couple's first child suffering from a non-hereditary disease.

The city's baby boom is projected to last at least another six years. This year about 180,000 babies are expected to be born in Shanghai, the most since 2000. Next year, the number is expected to be similar, according to the commission.

The current baby boom started in 2006, when people born in the 1980s, another baby boom period, came into childbearing age.

An increasing number of migrant people swarm into the city, and the number of migrants' babies born in Shanghai is now almost the same as that of the registered population. Through September this year, the city welcomed 137,000 newborns, among which 75,000 were Shanghai-registered babies, while the remaining 62,000 don't hold "hukou."

"We believe the baby boom has reached a peak," said Xie. "And we estimate that the number of newly born babies will fall around 2017. But of course, it will depend on the migrant population."

Meanwhile, the same survey showed that the popularity of condoms is rising in the Shanghai downtown area, while the intrauterine device (IUD) still dominates in suburban areas.

The population commission said the survey showed about 52 percent of Shanghai women choose IUD, while 33 percent choose condoms. Other contraception methods local women used included sterilization, birth-control pills and calculation of safe times based on women's periods, according to the survey.

The survey found that about 41 percent of the women in the downtown area prefer condoms, while 50 to 60 percent of people in suburban areas prefer IUD, which they believe to be more convenient.

Officials said younger people and those with higher education levels tend to choose condoms over IUDs. About 70 percent of women having bachelor's or higher degrees prefer condom but more than half of women who have never been to college choose IUDs.

"We can see that the percentage of condom use in Shanghai rose by 3.3 percent over last year, while the number of people using IUD was 6.7 percent less," said Xie. "And the percentage using condoms is much higher than the country's average, which is around 10 percent."

Some local women said they knew IUDs can harm their health, a primary reason for their preference for condoms, which are safe and harmless.

"My mom used IUD and she suffered a lot," said a local white-collar worker surnamed Zhang. "As condoms can not only control birth but also prevent AIDS and VD, I believe it's the best way of contraception."


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