CHINA TOPIX

Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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China Considers Giving 'Birth Rewards' for Second Child: Report

China is considering of giving 'birth rewards' and subsidies to encourage families to have a second child.

(Photo : Getty Images) China is considering of giving 'birth rewards' and subsidies to encourage families to have a second child.

China will likely offer birth incentives and subsidies to encourage its citizens to have a second child, state-backed China Daily reported.

The proposal was announced by Wang Peian, vice-minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission at a social welfare conference on Saturday. The potential move reportedly followed after surveys cited economic constraints as the top reason why many remain hesitant to expand their families.

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"To have a second child is the right of each family in China but affordability has become a bottleneck that undermines the decision," Wang said, further noting that "barriers still exist and must be addressed."

According to the commission's survey in 2015, at least 60 percent of families were reluctant to have larger families, citing the availability and cost of quality child care as an obstacle particularly for many middle class parents.

To address the issue, Wang said that the government should consider introducing supporting measures such as "birth rewards and subsidies" to encourage couples to opt for a second child.

Yuan Xin, a professor at Tianjin's Nankai University, said that this is the first instance a top population authority suggested to give subsidies to couples planning to have a second baby to help counter the falling fertility rates.

"It's not easy, and a 'baby bonus' plan should be applied evenly nationwide as all government policies should be transparent and fair for all," he said, as quoted by ECNS.

Authorities are now expressing concerns over the slow birth rate in China, the slowest in the world.  Its birth rates in 2016 marked the highest level in 20 years at 17.86 million after the country allowed families to have two children amid worry on the costs of supporting the increasing aging population.

China relaxed its more than four-decade-old family planning policy late in 2015. And it expects to boost its birth rate to 1.8 babies per woman by 2021.

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