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December 9, 2009

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Home » Metro » Education

Population officials head off boy ploy

SHANGHAI population officials are optimistic about controlling the boy-heavy imbalance among newborns of migrant people and are already seeing an improvement.

To keep the gender ratio random, the city government has a ban on checkups on fetus sex and abortions for women pregnant for 27 weeks or more for non-medical reasons.

Policies like enhanced education, subsidies and more training opportunities for girls have been introduced to encourage migrants from rural areas to have daughters.

Officials said they had noticed more migrants starting to give up the traditional boy mentality for two reasons - increased education and the fact they are mirroring the behavior of Shanghainese.

The gender ratio between newborn boys and girls among the registered population in Shanghai is balanced, while the ratio for migrant newborns is 120 to 124 boys against 100 girls.

The natural range is 103 to 107 boys against 100 girls, Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission officials told city-based consuls at its annual demographic briefing yesterday.

According to the commission, the city's population is continuing its upward trend.

Shanghai had 6.42 million migrant people last year, with 5.17 million of them staying for six months or more.

The city's overall population in 2008 was 18.88 million, including the registered population and those staying for six months or more.

The growth rate last year was 1.64 percent, higher than the nation's 0.53 percent.

About 152,100 foreigners stayed in the city for more than six months last year, 18,800 more than 2007, commission officials said.

About 165,000 babies are expected this year, similar with last year's 166,600.

"The focus has shifted from just birth control to an integrated solution to population issues like how to improve population quality, enhance guidance on early education to children below three and better reproductive services to migrant people," said Xie Lingli, commission director.

She said Shanghai faced many challenges on population management, including the newborn gender ratio, a growing gray-hair population and rising migrants.

The government invested 490 million yuan (US$71.76 million) in reproductive services last year, a 32 percent increase from 2001.


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