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Delaying Motherhood: The Rising Average Age of First-Time Moms in Shanghai

ChinaDelaying Motherhood: The Rising Average Age of First-Time Moms in Shanghai

The latest data released by the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission indicates that the proportion of the population who have one child has reached more than 73 percent among the household registered residents, while the rate of those who have two children stood at 24.34 percent in 2022. This shows a significant increase in the number of one-child families in the city.

According to official data, only 1.86 percent of the population with household registration in Shanghai had multiple children in 2022. Among the population with household registration, the number of women of childbearing age exceeded 2.93 million, and the number of married women of childbearing age exceeded 1.85 million. These figures reveal that despite the relatively large population, Shanghai’s birth rate is relatively low.

Song Jian, a demographer from the Center for Population and Development Studies of the Renmin University of China, explains that the number of births is influenced by the number of women and the order-specific fertility rates. This means that although there may be a large population, the low fertility rates still result in a small number of births.

Shanghai’s total fertility rate for the population with household registration is 0.7, which is lower than the replacement level of 2.1. This means that the number of births in the city is not enough to replace the number of deaths, resulting in a declining population. The mean age at first birth is 30.36, and the average childbearing age is 31.18, according to official data. This indicates that the age of first-time mothers is rising in the city.

The low total fertility rate in Shanghai is not a surprise, as the city is grappling with the challenge of an aging population, according to Song Jian, a demographer from the Center for Population and Development Studies of the Renmin University of China. As the population ages, the demand for health care and social welfare services increases, and there is a growing concern that the shrinking working-age population will hamper the city’s economic development in the long run.

In 2020, over 71 percent of registered residents in Shanghai lived in one-child households, up 1.14 percentage points from 2019. The rate of two-child households declined to more than 27 percent, down 1.31 percentage points from 2019, while the rate of households with three or more children rose to 1.30 percent, up 0.16 percentage points from 2019. These figures indicate a trend of families choosing to have fewer children in the city.

The decline in the number of permanent residents is not unique to Shanghai. Several other regions in China, including Henan Province, have also reported population data recently. According to the provincial Bureau of Statistics, the total number of permanent residents in Henan Province decreased in 2022, with the natural growth rate of the population dropping for the first time in 62 years.

It is essential to address the demographic challenges of population aging and shrinking birth rates to ensure long-term sustainable development. The government has been taking measures to encourage childbirth and support families, including tax breaks, extended maternity leave, and increased subsidies for childcare. However, these measures have not been enough to reverse the trend of declining birth rates in the city.

More needs to be done to address the issue of population aging and its impact on the city’s social and economic landscape. Efforts to create a supportive environment for families and address the challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities can encourage people to have more children. The government can also invest in healthcare and social welfare services to support the aging population, boost the city’s productivity, and ensure sustainable economic growth in the future.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China has recently released data showing that the Chinese mainland population had negative growth in 2022 for the first time in 61 years, decreasing by 850,000. This decline in population growth is attributed to the long-term low fertility rate in the country, which is a concern for the government.

To address this issue, the government has implemented various policies to encourage birth rates. These policies cover various sectors, including insurance, housing, education, employment, and tax deductions. For example, in 2021, the government announced that couples would be allowed to have up to three children, replacing the previous two-child policy. The government has also offered financial incentives to families who choose to have more children, such as increasing maternity leave and offering subsidies for childcare.

However, these policies have yet to yield significant results, as the decline in the birth rate continues to be a challenge. In addition to the low fertility rate, other factors contributing to the decline in population growth include an aging population and a high cost of living in urban areas, which may deter people from having children.

The government is aware of the challenges and has stated that it will continue to prioritize efforts to address the issue of low birth rates and negative population growth. The government’s goal is to create a sustainable demographic balance that will support economic growth and development in the long term.

In conclusion, the data shows that Shanghai’s birth rate is relatively low, with a high proportion of one-child families and a small number of multiple children. The total fertility rate is below the replacement level, which is a cause for concern. The increasing age of first-time mothers is also a notable trend that requires attention.

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