Posted by: Frederik Balfour on July 24, 2009
Here’s a twist on baby boomers: China’s longstanding “One Child” population control policy is being relaxed by the city of Shanghai in a bid to boost a higher birth rate to support the city’s aging population. The Shanghai Daily reported on July 24 the government is encouraging a baby boom through a public awareness campaign urging couples to consider having a second child. Unlike Singapore, another demographically challenged city, Shanghai has not yet announced any financial incentives to encourage procreation, however.
The paper says about 22% of the population is 60 or older, and decades of a state-directed one child policy means that a bulge in the graying population is developing. Shanghai has an official population of about 15 million although the city has between three and five million of floating population, migrant workers who do not enjoy the full benefits of registered Shanghai residents.
Nearly 97% of the city’s population has only one child, however my guess is this reflects the fact that both spouses work. Just last night I got more anecdotal evidence of this. A woman I’ve known for several years working in the JW Marriott hotel in Shanghai told me last night she and her husband would never contemplate having a second child. Their son, who is about 18 months old, lives full time with her parents so she and her husband can both hold down jobs.
For more insights, please see the story on how Japanese companies are dealing with dwindling birth rates by my colleague Hiroko Tashiro.