Year of the Dragon Is a Boon for China's Fertility Rate
Lin Jing
DATE:  Feb 23 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Year of the Dragon Is a Boon for China's Fertility Rate Year of the Dragon Is a Boon for China's Fertility Rate

(Yicai) Feb. 23 -- The Year of the Dragon has ushered in a new wave of childbirth in China as people tend to prefer the Chinese zodiac sign linked to courage and tenacity.

The trend is apparent in hospitals around the country. Jiangsu province's Wuxi Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital announced recently that during the latest Chinese New Year holiday from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17, almost 220 babies were born, up by a fifth from a year ago. Western China's Second Affiliated Hospital of Shaanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine unveiled that during the same period, the number of newborns surged by 72 percent to exceed 230.

Last year, many couples started planning for pregnancy due to the auspicious zodiac sign, Tian Ling, head of the gynecology department of the Third People's Hospital of Bengbu in Anhui province, said in a recent interview with a local media outlet. History proves the point as China had a baby boom in 2012, the last Year of the Dragon.

In 2012, more than 19.7 million new citizens were born in China, the most in the 21st century. Although the country relaxed its one-child policy in the following years, the birth rate has still generally declined in the past decade. China had 9 million newborns last year, almost half of that of 2012.

This is why it was surprising that the number of marriages rebounded last year for the first time after a decline of nine straight years as the Covid-19 pandemic was brought under control. In the first three quarters of that year, the number of marriage registrations rose by 245,000 to almost 5.7 million from a year ago, according to official statistics. This is also expected to have a positive impact on the fertility rate this year. 

The rising number of marriages last year and the subsequent wave of newborns this year are temporary so it is still necessary to build a comprehensive fertility policy support system to reduce the burden of having babies to raise the willingness of young people to get married and start expanding their families, Dong Yuzheng, a guest researcher at the counselors' office of Guangdong's local government, said to Yicai.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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Keywords:   Newborn,Year of Dragon,China,fertility rate,babies,family planning,aging society,2024