(Yicai Global) Jan. 5 -- Many Chinese cities saw an annual decline in births last year, surprising those who thought the number of newborns would increase with the adoption of the two-child policy, per data they released recently.
The number of hospital deliveries at a prefecture-level city in coastal China fell 7 percent annually last year, hospital data show.
Zibo welcomed 50,981 newborns in the first 11 months of last year, marking a decrease of 3,134 from the previous year, according to data from the city's health and family planning commission.
Chengdu registered a drop in second child deliveries from 71,534 in 2016 to 71,053 last year, information from the city's health and family planning commission shows.
The number of newborns will probably increase significantly in the six years following the introduction of China's two-child policy with the total fertility rate rising from 1.6 in 2016 to about 2.0 this year, National Health and Family Planning Commission Deputy Director Wang Pei'an wrote in a study.
Second-child births peaked in late 2016 and early last year when at least 30 percent of deliveries were second children, said Wang Yujue, chief physician of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital. Most newborns are first children now, Wang added.
Births are stable overall in Chengdu, said Wang Guangzhou, director of the demographics office of the Institute for Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, adding that the number of births in the city will very likely decrease this year.
Some 44 percent of women permitted to have a second child who said in a 2007 baseline survey that they would definitely have another baby followed through with their plans, while 2 percent of those who stated in that they did not want another kid gave birth to one by 2010, according to a study conducted by Zheng Zhenzhen, a scholar at IPLE.
Those who want to have a second child might not, and those who do not want one generally don't, said Zheng.
Perhaps the baby boom some expected to take place after the two-child policy's introduction did not come to fruition in part because of this phenomenon.
China introduced a one-child policy, under which married ethnic Han Chinese couples were permitted to have just a single child, as a population control measure in 1979.
Authorities introduced exceptions to the rule, which varied by region. The central government eased restrictions so that married couples comprised of at least one only child could have two children in 2013. Lawmaker heeded demographers' warnings in 2015 and scrapped the one-child policy altogether.