Potential for '10 million childless families' in China

By Chen Xia
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 27, 2012
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About 10 million one-child families in China could end up childless in the next few decades according to a demographer's estimation, the Beijing Times reported on Monday.

From 1975 to 2010, 218 million Chinese families observed the country's family-planning policy and had only one child. However, the national census conducted in 2000 shows that of every 10,000 babies, 360 will die before the age of 10, 463 will die before 25 and 760 will die before 44.

Given the fact that women older than 49 are normally incapable of conceiving babies, Yi Fuxian, a demographer with the China Institute for Reform and Development, came to the conclusion that over 10 million one-child families could lose their only offspring.

A man mourns his son in a graveyard in Beijing. [File photo]

Since Chinese people tend to depend on their children to support them in old age, the death of the only child could lead to financial hardship for aging parents.

According to a national regulation on family planning released in 2001, local governments should provide necessary aid to one-child families if the child dies or is disabled and parents are unable to conceive another baby or adopt other children. But there is no further explanation as to what "necessary aid" should include.

Shi Bainian, a professor at China Youth University for Political Sciences, advised authorities to pay more attention to the welfare of these families.

Authorities should substantially raise the financial aid to such families. In addition, greater efforts should be made to promote elderly services, such as old-age homes and neighborhood elderly support groups. Obtaining understanding from other people is also crucial to these families, Shi said.

China's family planning policy, adopted in 1980, has long been wrongly perceived as the 'one-child policy.' Its main contents are: Advocating delayed marriage and delayed child bearing, fewer and healthier births; and advocating one child for one couple. Some rural couples and ethnic minorities are allowed to give birth to a second child.

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