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March 19, 2014

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Births down last year, but baby boom forecast

A TOTAL of 211,700 babies were born in Shanghai last year, down from a record 239,600 in 2012, the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

Just over 51 percent of the total, or 108,400 babies, were born to Shanghainese families, the commission said in a white paper on health.

Despite the slight dip in births, authorities expect the annual figure to rise by between 20,000 and 30,000 in the coming years as a result of a recent change to the family planning law.

As of March 1, couples with just a single spouse from a one-child family are allowed have a second child, and the commission is gearing up for the expected baby boom.

“We will continue to reform the city’s public hospitals to ensure they provide good quality antenatal care and family planning services,” Shen Xiaochu, director of the commission, said.

The paper also gave details of key health indicators for Shanghai citizens, which the commission said were in line with those of developed countries.

According to the document, the life expectancy for registered citizens in 2013 was 82.47 years. The infant mortality rate was 5.73 per 1,000, while the mortality rate of pregnant women was 7.08 in every 100,000, it said.

A total of 116,400 registered citizens died last year. The leading causes of death were lung and heart diseases, and cancer, the white paper said.


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