As a result of the easing of the one-child policy to allow a second child for families where at least one parent is an only child, this year's applications for a second child will be more than last year's, a Chinese expert predicted.
Mao Qunan, a spokesman with the National Health and Family Planning Commission, said in a press conference that families are on the stage of preparation last year. He believes that more applications will pile up now that the families are ready and prepared.
The easing of the policy began as an experiment conducted in east China's Zhejiang Province in Jan. 2014. It states that if either parent is an only child, the couple may apply to have a second child. The policy now applies across the nation.
According to Mao, almost a million pairs applied to have another child last year. He claims that the number is in accordance with the expected two million applications per annum.
He further added that the commission will continue to closely monitor the population growth and ink relevant mechanisms and policies when the need arises.
Despite the ease, many cities in China have few couples who are qualified to have a second child.
Beijing expected an additional 50,000 births annually since the easing of the policy, but so far, only 30,000 couples have applied.
Shanghai, Liuzhou and Shenzen are in comparable situations.
According to a survey conducted by The China Youth Daily, only 24.9 percent of qualified couples apply for a second child.
The survey showed that the top three reasons why couples do not apply for a second child are economic costs, time costs, and the belief that one child is enough.
One netizen's post on Sina Weibo seems to summarize Chinese couples' thinking: The people want more children, but they cannot afford the costs.