(Yicai Global) Feb. 19 -- China may fully lift birth restrictions in the three northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning in a pilot scheme aimed at boosting the country’s declining birthrate.
The National Health Commission will first appoint a panel of experts to assess the scheme’s potential impact on matters such as local economic growth, resources, the environment, and public services, it said yesterday. The panel will also suggest any policy support deemed necessary.
The three provinces are among a handful of regions in China that are seeing their population numbers fall. A dwindling birthrate and a constant outflow of youngsters in search of better jobs and pay meant that Heilongjiang lost 218,000 residents in 2019, Jilin 133,300 and Liaoning 76,000.
Birth control is relatively loose in the northeast but there still is not much drive to have babies, the commission said. The economic burden of raising children as well as the lasting damaging effect it can have on women’s careers are all factors discouraging couples from having kids.
The number of newborns registered in China’s ‘hukou’ household registration system last year fell 15 percent to nearly 10.04 million from 11.79 million in 2019, according to data published by the Ministry of Public Security on Feb. 8.
The National Health Commission said the key to increasing the fertility rate is to improve public services and solve the concerns families have about raising children. Along with the National Development and Reform Commission, the NHC is supporting cities and businesses by increasing the supply of affordable child-care services through central government investment, it added.
The NHC will continue to guide local governments to build a system that encourages couples to have children and promotes long-term and balanced population growth, it said.
Editor: Kim Taylor