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December 9, 2010

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Shanghai's migrants on increase

SHANGHAI'S migrant population is on the increase, while the number of babies being born is expected to remain stable, officials from the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

About 5.42 million migrant people, around 28 percent of the local population, stayed in the city for over six months in 2009.

The figure by the end of last year was 0.8 percentage points higher than 2008, officials told a news briefing.

In 2009, Shanghai had 19.21 million residents, 328,600 more than in 2008.

"Shanghai is facing a growing population with a rising number of migrants and elderly people," said Xie Lingli, the commission's director. "The newborn population remains stable."

The number of babies born this year to city residents is estimated to be around 168,000 while the figure expected for 2011 is put at 170,000.

Last year, 3.16 million, or 22.54 percent of the local registered population, were 60 or older, a rise of 0.93 percentage points over 2008.

Officials said there will be amendments to the city's population regulations aimed at improving maternity services and increase the allowance paid to couples who have only one child.

Currently the monthly allowance for a couple with one child is just 5 yuan, a figure that hasn't changed for decades.

"The amendments are on next year's agenda of the Shanghai People's Congress," said commission spokesman Zhang Meixing.

"However, it will only renovate the clauses involving the reproductive service and bonus without touching key population policies," Zhang said.

He said the city government hadn't received any instructions from the central government about changing the current population policy, which strictly regulates couples eligible to have a second child - such as both spouses being from one-child families or the first child having a non-hereditary disability.

"The central government may do spot checks and studies concerning the current unhealthy population structure featuring a low birth rate and a growing number of the elderly," Zhang said.


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