Despite Government Pressure, Chinese Women Defy Calls To Boost Birth Rates Amid Rising Child-Rearing Costs

Chinese Women Prioritize Personal Ambitions Over State and Family Pressures, Impacting Birth Rates

Chinese women are making the choice to prioritize their personal ambitions over the pressures from the state and family to have more children. This decision comes at a time when Beijing is desperately urging for larger families to combat a declining birth rate, which has led to concerns of a demographic crisis.

The number of newborns in China has significantly decreased from around 16 million in 2012 to under 10 million in 2022. Some forecasts even suggest that China’s population, currently at 1.4 billion, could be halved by the end of the century. This decline in birth rates is a cause for concern for the Chinese government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently called on the state-supported All-China Women’s Federation to address issues within the “women’s field.” However, critics argue that this move perceives women as potential threats to social harmony instead of addressing their concerns. The State Council, China’s top government body, has not yet responded to these concerns regarding population strategies.

Efforts to promote “family values” have seen little success, even in rural regions of China. In Quanjiao, a county in Anhui province, women are resisting pressure from community officials and relatives to have larger families. The high costs of childcare, a weak economy, and elevated unemployment rates are driving many young people to seek alternatives to traditional family life.

Contrary to expectations of a baby boom following the termination of China’s one-child policy in 2015, there has been a baby bust instead. The country is now experiencing a decline in preschool numbers for the first time in 15 years, accompanied by a decrease in baby-care product sales.

In an attempt to create a “birth-friendly culture,” the government has been promoting matchmaking events and programs to encourage military families to have more children. However, there is a growing awareness of women’s rights, and many women are becoming increasingly reluctant to conform to traditional roles.

The declining birth rates in China have been a cause for concern for some time now. Best-selling author Jim Rickards warned last year that China’s dwindling population would result in “an epic collapse.” Rickards projected that China could lose 600 million people by 2070, leaving behind an aging population more susceptible to diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

This shift in priorities among Chinese women has significant implications for the future of the country’s population and economy. As more women prioritize their personal ambitions over starting a family, it may lead to a further decline in birth rates and exacerbate the demographic crisis. The Chinese government will need to address these concerns and find ways to support women in achieving their personal goals while also encouraging population growth.

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