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Migrants in Shanghai help fuel baby boom

By Wang Hongyi  (China Daily)

09:09, October 27, 2011

SHANGHAI - Migrants have contributed almost the same number of babies as locals to this eastern financial metropolis over the past three quarters, a report released on Wednesday by Shanghai municipal population and family planning commission said.

In the first nine months, about 137,000 babies were born in the city, slightly more than last year's 133,000. Of those, 62,000 were from migrant families.

The number of newborn babies for the whole year was expected to reach 180,000. Last year, the number was 175,000.

The city's baby boom, which began in 2006, would last another six years "because young couples who were born in the 1980s have reached childbearing age," said Xie Lingli, director of the commission.

The commission also released a survey report on the city's migrants, who have flocked to the city from less developed provinces in search of work.

The survey, conducted in July, polled about 23,000 migrants across the city. They were aged between 16 and 59 and had lived there for more than one month. Among them, 52.5 percent of respondents were male, and 79.6 percent were married. They have lived in the city for an average of 6.3 years.

More opportunities and higher pay were the main reasons they came, the report said. Almost 85 percent of respondents were employed, and their average monthly income was 2,764 yuan ($433).

The report said the migrants got along well in their new home. About 95.8 percent said they were very concerned about the city's development, and about 88 percent said they felt accepted by its residents.

Almost 70 percent said they were confident they would work in Shanghai for a long time. Migrants with comparatively high educational backgrounds said they were especially confident regarding the city's future.

In addition, 96.3 percent said they like the city.

Less than half of the respondents said poor housing conditions and high workloads are their main concerns. Only 8.4 percent said they have their own house in Shanghai.

Family matters such as marriage, raising children and looking after elderly parents are the main reasons migrants left the city, respondents said.

According to official figures, about 23 million people lived in Shanghai by the end of last year, and almost 40 percent were migrants.

Experts said the city government should pay more attention to issues that concern migrant people.

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