Chinese Youth Don't Want One Child, Let Alone Two

What depresses fertility? Urbanization, decline of traditional religious belief, high cost of family formation, length of education, feminism and modern life in general that places an emphasis on self-actualization/hedonism/materialism. What is China's development strategy? Urbanization, education. China was "feminist before feminism" under Mao. Under Xi, traditional religions are being ground into dust. The "China Dream" is materialist, as is scientific socialism.

Result: Chinese fertility keeps on dropping.

21st Century: 年轻人为何一孩都不愿生?中国人口拐点逼近
Today, the situation is vastly different. Ms. Pan said that her daughter works in the first-tier cities. Although she has a boyfriend, she has not planned to marry. Even if she is married, her daughter’s plan is to give birth after the age of 30. The reason is that the work is busy and there is no time to live.

"In my daughter's view, raising a child is a big burden. A child is not willing to give birth. What about a child?" The concept of childbearing such as Ms. Pan’s daughter is spreading among young people in China.

Judging from the data on the births of 2018 published in some regions, the number of newborns has dropped significantly. Organizations and scholars have begun to predict when negative population growth will come.

According to industry insiders interviewed by 21st Century Business Herald, the negative population growth is relatively slow at first, and the impact is limited. But what should really be worried about is the rapid decline in population and the negative effects on the economy and society in the long run.
The West has an insane solution: flood the country with migrants, thus raising the cost of family formation and depressing native fertility further. At least in the case of Japan, and probably China, they will still exist in 100 years, and they will exist without resorting to ethnic cleansing. (Although China is jumping the gun in Xinjiang.)
Why don't young people have children?
“Is it too little to work overtime or not to work? Is the game not fun or the TV series is not good? Why do you have children?” Whenever there is a discussion on why the young people don’t have children on the Internet, similar ridicules will always appear.

Behind the ridicule is a hard reality. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the total number of births in China in 2017 was 17.23 million, which was 630,000 less than the 17.86 million announced in 2016, a drop of 3.5%. Although the figures for 2018 have not yet been announced, the continued decline in the birth population is basically a foregone conclusion.

From the two children in 2014 to the full two children in 2016, the population policy has been adjusted, but the number of births has fallen short of expectations.

In 2017, the number of second children rose to 8.83 million, an increase of 1.62 million year-on-year. The proportion of the two children in the total birth population reached 51.2%, an increase of 11 percentage points year-on-year, but the birth population in 2017 decreased. Li Xi, director of the Department of Population and Employment of the National Bureau of Statistics, analyzed this before, mainly because the number of births of a child fell more.

Behind this data is a more serious reality - many young people are not even a child. What exactly became their "contraceptive"?
An aggressive Zero Population Growth (ZPG) advocate might add forced birth control or sterilization. Aside from those extreme policies, China is already implementing a full-court press against fertility.
According to the "China Birth Report 2019" issued by the Ren Zeping team of the Evergrande Institute, the weakening of the maternity base and the constraints of birth costs have hindered the birth of young people.

The report believes that the further decline in the fertility rate in modern society is not due to the reduction of willingness to give birth, but mainly because the increase in cost leads to the incomplete realization of people's fertility willingness. The gap between the actual fertility level and the willingness to fertility level is determined by the cost. Late marriage and late childbearing, single Dingke, infertility and other weaken the birth basis, housing, education, medical and other direct costs, pension burden, high opportunity costs also inhibit fertility behavior, but can not afford to afford.

“House prices have risen rapidly. The loan-to-income ratio increased from 17% to 44% in 2004-2017; the cost of education has increased significantly, especially in the provision of public kindergartens. The proportion of Chinese public kindergartens in 1997-2017 has dropped from 95% to 44%; Medical expenses continue to rise; the number of only children in China is about 180 million. The 'four-one-one' family structure pension burden reinforces the willingness to bear children; the female labor participation rate is high but the employment rights protection is not enough, resulting in high opportunity cost of birth," the report said.

In addition, the 21st Century Business Herald reporter learned that in the current situation in China, in order to maintain the fertility rate in the replacement generation of the population (maintaining the next generation of population is equal to the previous generation, no increase or decrease), only one child is born. not enough. But the parents who want to have two children are not enough.

Li Min (pseudonym), who has been working in Beijing and has been a child for one and a half years, is currently considering whether to add a brother or sister to his son. As the only child, her greatest experience is that a child is too lonely. In her opinion, regenerating one is the best gift for children. But thinking about it, Li Min has temporarily shelved the plan.

"The biggest problem is that no one takes her." Li Min told the 21st Century Business Herald reporter that his parents retired after three years, and the father-in-law retired after one year. He is now a mother-in-law with a child. A few days ago, the mother-in-law returned to her hometown. I can't turn it anymore, and there is no one to bring it back. I have to work and give it to the babysitter.
Modern people have substituted GDP for children. This is fine at the individual level, but it fails at the societal level. Or another way, it is not a long-term sustainable policy. Modern people are being wiped out by mass migration in the West and if that is eventually halted, they will be wiped out from their own ranks by religious fundamentalists.

China has such high population density that it has room to decline. Once China's population peaks, the housing bubble will burst. The initial hit from an economic crisis will be another drop in fertility, but when home prices settle lower, fertility will see a bump. As population declines over time, home prices will continue falling outside of major population centers. Beijing and Shanghai will still have very low fertility, but second- and third-tier cities will see fertility rise an population density and home prices fall.
The research by Ren Zeping’s team predicts that the Chinese population will peak around 2024-2031, depending on the future encouragement of birth policy.

The National Population Development Plan (2016-2030) predicts that the turning point will occur around 2030, with a peak of 1.45 billion people.

The United Nations World Population Prospects (2017) has nine forecasting schemes for population size. The peak population of China based on different hypotheses is earliest in 2021, and at the latest in 2044, 7 of which are predicted to peak in 2032 and before. .

“It’s still shocking to hear that China’s population has grown negatively for more than a decade or even years. Living in a large, crowded city can make people feel too much, not people.” Ms. Pan’s daughter said.

According to Liang Jianzhang, a demographer, many people think that the size of China's big cities is already too big. What is needed is to control rather than expand the size of the city. But in fact, whether it is from economic equilibrium or international comparison, even the scale of first-tier cities such as Shanghai and Beijing is small rather than too large.

Huang Wenzheng believes that to solve the population problem, we must first solve the problem of heavy parenting burden. The government should vigorously support kindergartens or nurseries. In addition, incentives for improving endowment insurance should be established, subsidies should be provided for families who need to raise children, and women’s employment equality should be promoted. He stressed that encouraging birth is appropriate, but under no circumstances should birth be forced, otherwise it will be counterproductive.

Wang Guangzhou said that low birth rate is a form of negative inertia of the population. The solution of the problem is a social system project. Of course, the role of childcare tax reduction is very positive, but the risk and harm of low birth rate can not be solved by simple tax reduction or exemption. of. After the formation of a low-fertility cultural and social mechanism, if you want to completely break it, you need very powerful forces and slow, long-term adjustments.
Substantial changes to religion and culture are out of the question in China. Unless China launches a major fertility push with very big baby bonuses (hit that materialism button) it is unlikely to stop the slide in fertility and certainly won't reverse it.

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