Number of Second-Child Applications Lower Than Expected

| Oct 30, 2014 08:52 AM EDT

According to data, the total Chinese population reached 1.37 billion by the end of 2014. Projections estimate that it will decline to 1.3 billion in 2050.

Although the National Health and Family Planning Commission approved almost 90 percent of second-child applications, the figures turned out to be lower than expected. 

China's revision of the one-child policy states that couples where one is an only child are eligible to apply for a second-child permit. Nearly 700,000 qualified couples have applied for the permit when August ended, and 620,000 of them successfully obtained a permit, said the commission.

However, the figures were far lesser than what Chinese authorities anticipated. With only 90 percent of the total number of applicants have been approved to have a second child, the commission put the yearly births to over 2 million.

When the resolution was enacted in November, over 11 million couples became qualified to bear a second child. The previous qualification required both of the parents to be an only child.

Only the Tibet autonomous region and Xinjiang Uygur are the provinces that do not implement the new policy.

The unexpected low number of applications may be due to a change in perspective on reproduction among urban citizens with high education, according to Peking Univesity professor of demography Lu Jiehua.

Lu said that the majority of the couples affected by the policy reside in the urban areas, where in reality, conceiving a child is an economic issue.

Liu Yulin and his spouse are one of the couples that are still deciding on a second baby.

"My first is a boy. I don't think I can afford to have another boy, for whom I have to buy housing," Liu said.

According to the professor, the study and analysis results preceding the new policy enactment do not match reality. The resolution was aiming to increase the labor supply because of the fast aging society.

Lu also mentioned that the new births data next year should be carefully analyzed to help make a more extensive two-child policy.

"That probably will come in five years," the professor said.

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences deputy director Cai Fang said that it will be two years only instead of five years.

However, population officials denied the director's claim and cited that there is no timetable yet.

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