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2015 will see a mini baby boom

(People's Daily Online)    13:13, February 11, 2015
(Photo source: Xinhua)

At a symposium analyzing the outlook for China's population, held on Feb. 9, 2015, Zhai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association, pointed out that there had been a large increase in the number of new births in 2014, and that 2015 will see a mini baby boom, with a new-born population of about 18 million.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of new births in 2014 was 16.87 million, 470,000 more than in 2013. Yang Wenzhuang, director of family planning guidance department of National Health and Family Planning Commission, said that by the end of 2014, about 1.07 million couples with one spouse being an only child had applied to have a second child, which has basically met the expectation. Since 2014, a new policy has been in place which allows couples to have two children if one spouse is an only child. Previously, having a second child was limited to parents who were both only children. Because of this new policy, it is expected that in 2015 new births will be 1 million more than in 2014. Since the number of women of childbearing age is in decline, the rise in the number of new births means that the new policy is taking effect. The number of new births in 2015 may approach or even exceed 18 million, back to the level of 1999.

According to Zhai Zhenwu, the rise in new births in 2014 has the following reasons: firstly, some provinces adopted the "two children for one only child spouse" policy earlier, so some couples had another baby in 2014; secondly, the both-only-children couples were mostly born in 1980s, so it was time for them to have a second baby; thirdly, it is very likely that more babies were born without permission. In addition, since 2015 is the year of the ram in Chinese culture, and many Chinese believe that people born in the year of the ram will have bad luck, some couples arranged to have a baby in 2014, the year of horse.

Before the new policy was adopted, nationwide analysis suggested that the policy would cover about 11 million people. According to calculations from several institutions, a total of 5 to 7 million more people will be born due to the new policy, and the number of new births in each year will be between 1 million and 2 million.

Zhai Zhenwu said that this mini baby boom will last for 5 to 8 years, and will exert pressure on public services such as health care and education. So, it is very important that the public services make full preparations for this baby boom. 

The article is edited and translated from《2015将迎人口出生小高峰》, source: People's Daily Overseas Edition, author:Bai Jianfeng.

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