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Ageing Shanghai promotes baby boom

China’s most populous city Shanghai wants its residents to have more babies. Officials in Shanghai are making house calls and pushing leaflets under doors to persuade couples to have two children, in a break from the thrust of the communist country’s 30-year-old one-child policy, reports Reshma Patil.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2009 01:10 IST
Reshma Patil

China’s most populous city Shanghai wants its residents to have more babies. Officials in Shanghai are making house calls and pushing leaflets under doors to persuade couples to have two children — in a break from the thrust of the communist country’s 30-year-old one-child policy.

The reason: The financial capital of the world’s fastest-growing economy is fast growing old.

More than 3 million of Shanghai’s 19 million residents are 60-plus. The proportion of Shanghai retirees will grow from 22 per cent now to 34 per cent by 2020.

Such statistics stoke concerns that the aging population could undo its edge over other centres of commerce, at a time when global inves-tors are increasingly looking at countries like India. By 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old, compared with 37 in China.

The move to encourage couples to have children is expected to “help reduce the proportion of ageing people and alleviate a workforce shortage,’’ state-run China Daily quoted Xie Lingli, director, Shanghai Popu-lation and Family Planning Commission, as saying.

“The one-child policy will soon have an unwanted byproduct in big cities like Shanghai, as the youth population will start flattening next year and decline in 2015,’’ said Kunal Sinha, a Shanghai-based executive director with publicity firm Ogilvy & Mather.