China is facing a decline in its fertility rates, as the average family size has been shrinking over the years, according to Wang Pei’an, the deputy director of the China Family Planning Association. The data shows that in 2020, there were 2.62 people per family in China, a decrease of 0.48 from 2010.
The changing perspective on marriage and starting a family among young generations is the primary reason for this decline, according to Pei’an. A survey showed that women in China who were ready to start a family planned to have 1.64 babies in 2021, down from 1.76 in 2017. The ideal number of babies for those born in the 1990s and 2000s was even lower, at 1.54 and 1.48 respectively.
This shift has resulted in delays in marriage and having children, and even a resistance to such rituals. Furthermore, the percentage of women who have no children over their lifetime increased from 6.1 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2020.
Pei’an pointed out that less than 70 percent of women aged 35 and under agree that a life with children is complete. Given the low fertility rate in China, it would be extremely difficult to raise the fertility without strengthened efforts to foster a longing for marriage and family.
To tackle this issue, Pei’an suggested devoting more efforts to promoting marriage and childbearing at proper ages, sharing family responsibilities between men and women, advancing flexible working hours, and developing the nursery care and elderly care industries. He also called for a range of policies, from household registration and employment rules to medical insurance and social security regulations, to be geared towards “protecting marriages and families.”
The decline in China’s fertility rate is a complex issue that requires comprehensive measures to encourage marriage, childbearing, and building families. The nation must address the changing attitudes of young generations towards marriage and family, and work towards creating a supportive environment that promotes these values.