China should offer monetary rewards to the parents of each newborn child to persuade people to have babies, a Chinese scholar has suggested.
An adequate sum from the government would be 1 million yuan (US$155,600) per baby, said James Liang, professor of Peking University’s Guanghua school of management in Beijing and cofounder of online travel service provider Ctrip.
It might seem that a million yuan was a lot of money, but the government should consider the cost of raising a child in a big city had been increasing, Liang said. Parents took far more than 1 million yuan to bring up a child from birth to graduation, he said.
Liang, an expert in population economics, was responding to data published on Tuesday after the seventh nationwide census of the National Bureau of Statistics. It showed that the country’s population grew by the slowest rate, of 0.53%, in the past 10 years, a drop of 0.04 percentage points from the previous decade.
The declining fertility rate recorded in 2020 indicated a trend of low births in the days ahead, Liang warned.
He called on the government to encourage people to have more children, although this could involve educational or housing reforms, which would be a very complicated, time-consuming social project.
An effective measure to bring about more births was to expand fiscal spending on family welfare, the professor said, citing research data.
The cost to the government would be equal to 10% of China’s gross domestic product if it wanted to bump up the number of babies from the current ratio of 1.1 to the replacement level of 2.1, he said.
Authorities could allocate the money in the form of cash, tax relief or housing subsidies, Liang said.
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