Young Chinese couples face pressure from "4-2-1" family structure

16:15, August 25, 2010      

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Since China started implementing the family-planning policy in the 1970s, the first generation of people who are the only child in their family is starting to come of age in China. Now more than 30 years after the policy was implemented, their parents are aging. As a result, such young Chinese couples have to shoulder the responsibility of supporting four seniors and raising one child, facing enormous pressure.

The "4-2-1" family structure means that after a married couple who are both the only child of their respective family has a child, the family will consist of four seniors (each of their parents), one child and the couple themselves.

The couple is under the heavy pressure of shouldering the responsibility of supporting four seniors and raising at least one child. Traditionally, the support system for the elderly in China is family-based, and the motto of "bringing up sons to support parents in their old age" has been preserved by the Chinese for years.

Seniors have always been dependent on their descendants for support. However, following the social development and the changes in family structure, the problem of those born under the family-planning policy being financially unable or having no time to take care of their parents is becoming increasingly serious.

Mr. Wang, 30, now works in Huizhou of Guangdong Province after moving there with his wife from Hubei Province several years ago. He soon got used to the life in Huizhou and has made significant advancement in his career. However, as the only child in his family, he is very concerned about his parents in his hometown.

He said that as his wife is also the only child in her family, they have always sought to bring their parents to Huizhou to live with them after they got married, but their plan had to be postponed for various reasons. Now, their child will soon be 2 years old and the living pressure facing them is growing heavy.

They feel extremely tired because they are under the mental pressure of supporting their aging parents and have to face the realistic difficulties in raising their child. Like Mr. Wang, many of those who are the only child in their family have to face the issue of supporting their parents. They are worried that they can neither afford to raise their child nor support their parents.

According to reports, over 6 million Chinese families received one-child certificates in 1979. Thirty years later, China is entering the "4-2-1 family structure" era, during which the young Chinese are required to overcome living pressure as well as the pressure from supporting their parents.

China News Agency contributes to this article.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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