Recently, in the suggestions of the CPC Central Committee on formulating the fourteenth five year plan for national economic and social development and the long-term goals for the year 2035, Li Jiheng, Minister of civil affairs, wrote an article in the guidance book. At present, affected by various factors, Chinas school-age populations fertility desire is low, the total fertility rate has fallen below the warning line, and the population development has entered a critical turning point.
He proposed that we should guide the improvement of fertility level and stabilize it in an appropriate range, and increase the supply of labor force.
As soon as the news came out, it immediately triggered extensive interpretation. What does it mean that the total fertility rate has fallen below the warning line? How to deal with population development entering a critical turning point? There is no lack of discussion value.
The accumulation effect of two children will decrease
The total fertility rate can be generally understood as the average number of children born to a couple. In modern society, if the fertility rate reaches 2.1, it is called to reach the replacement level, that is to say, the fertility level that can maintain the population replacement from generation to generation without increasing or decreasing the population.
If the fertility rate is lower than 1.5, it will fall below the warning line, because once the fertility rate falls below 1.5, it will fall into the trap of low fertility and it is difficult to rise again.
Take Japan as an example. It has been 25 years since Japans total fertility rate fell below 1.5 in 1995. Although Japan has been vigorously encouraging fertility in these 25 years, the total fertility rate has not been able to rise above 1.5.
On December 26, 2019, when talking about Japans low fertility crisis, Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan, said: the situation is very serious now. It is not too much to say that it is a national disaster..
The actual fertility rate will not exceed 1.5 even if the possible underreporting and error are considered.
In 2016 and 2017, Chinas fertility rate once exceeded 1.5 due to the cumulative effect of the comprehensive two child policy. However, Chinas fertility rates in 2018 and 2019 are 1.495 and 1.47 respectively, which has fallen below the warning line.
It should be pointed out that although Chinas fertility rate is still close to 1.5 in 2018 and 2019, this is a case of two child accumulation effect. If the accumulation effect of two child birth is deducted, Chinas fertility rate in 2018 and 2019 is only between 1.1 and 1.2.
Since the accumulation effect of two children is unlikely to last for a long time, the accumulation effect of two children will probably end during the period of the 14th five year plan (2021-2025). By then, Chinas fertility rate is likely to be between 1.1 and 1.2, much lower than the warning line of 1.5.
It is worth mentioning that only when the number of one child is more than the number of two children among the new born population, the accumulation effect of two children will come to an end. According to the data of the National Bureau of statistics, in the population born in 2018 and 2019, the number of two children was more than the number of one child, so it can be judged that there is still the accumulation effect of two children in these two years.
Source: Beijing News
The marriage rate is low, and the childbearing willingness of the school-age population is low
Data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that Chinas marriage rate continues to decline, and the number of marriages has dropped below 10 million for the first time in recent years, which proves from one side that Chinas population development has entered a critical turning point.
In 2013, Chinas civil affairs departments and marriage registration agencies at all levels handled 13.469 million marriage registrations according to law, which decreased continuously in the following six years. There are 668000 pairs less in 2019 than in 2018. In 2019, a total of 9.471 million marriage registration couples were registered by the national marriage registration authority, which fell below 10 million.
In addition, due to the high cost of raising children, the low fertility willingness of school-age population is also an important reason for the low fertility rate. According to the national fertility sampling survey data conducted by the national health and Family Planning Commission in 2017, from 2006 to 2016, the average number of ideal children of women of childbearing age in China was 1.96, while the average number of children planned to have by women of childbearing age was 1.75.
This is not a unique sight in China. According to the data of JGSS and the world bank, from 2000 to 2012, the average ideal number of Japanese children was 2.41-2.60, but the actual fertility rate of Japan in these years was less than 1.5.
How to deal with the critical turning point of population development
From 2017 to 2019, Chinas birth population has decreased for three consecutive years. Due to the decrease in the number of women of childbearing age and the weakening of the accumulation effect of second child birth, the birth population in China will continue to decline year by year in the next few years.
With the birth population entering the decline channel, Chinas total population will also enter negative growth in the next few years. This means that Chinas total population is about to change from growth type to decline type.
In this context, the fourteenth five year plan puts forward the policy suggestions of enhancing the inclusiveness of fertility policy and reducing the cost of fertility, parenting and education. Undoubtedly, it is timely - at the moment when population development has entered a critical turning point, it is indeed necessary to introduce relevant policies to improve Chinas fertility rate.
To enhance the inclusiveness of the fertility policy, there is no doubt that there is a tendency to continue to open up the fertility policy, to abolish the strict birth restriction measures, and to adopt a more inclusive attitude towards the situation of illegitimate childbirth. In order to reduce the cost of childbirth, parenting and education, we need to develop the inclusive care service system, improve the child care rate of children under 3 years old, and strive to solve the worries of double working families for having children; tax reduction for families with multiple children can reduce the cost of parenting for families of child-bearing age.
In a word, only comprehensive consideration, forward-looking deployment and systematic response, standing on the height of the new demographic dividend and coping with the aging society, can we better guide the improvement of fertility level and stabilize it in an appropriate range.