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January 28, 2015

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Couples encouraged to have 2nd child

SHANGHAI couples are being encouraged to have a second child after less than 5 percent filed applications following the city easing its one-child policy last year, officials said yesterday.

Brought in last March, the policy allows Shanghai couples to have a second baby if either parent is a single child.

But by the end of 2014, only 16,600 of the city’s 370,000 qualifying couples had applied, Fan Hua, an official with the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission, told lawmakers yesterday.

The Shanghai application rate — 4.6 percent — is barely half the national average of 9 percent.

The national rate translates to nearly 1 million of 11 million qualifying couples applying for a second child last year.

“Two children are good for family stability and social development and couples who qualify are encouraged to have a second baby,” Fan said, adding that the local government still needs the national guideline to be in place.

Vice chairperson of the Shanghai Women’s Federation, Zhu Ming, said the high cost of raising a child, nursing and career pressure were behind the low takeup.

Zhu said raising a child until they are 22 costs nearly 1 million yuan (US$163,000) on average in Shanghai.


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