High housing prices have led to the stress of having more than one child in a family in China. To reduce the cost of living, Beijing government launched a new policy on 10 October to prioritise those who have more than one child in renting low-priced public housing. This is to support the three-child policy that was released in May this year.
Such public rental housing was first introduced to the market back in 2012; it aims to offer affordable properties, owned by the government, to low-income groups, including graduates and overseas talents.
However, due to a short supply, whoever applies for this housing, needs to queue up. To respond to the central government’s three-child policy, Beijing officials take those candidates with more than one child, out of the waiting list (over 3000) and arrange the process for them right away. This change can make a huge difference for them – in Beijing, 2,000 RMB ($310) can only rent 15 m² with no private property ownership, but with public rental housing, 2,000 RMB ($310) can rent a 50 m² apartment.
This is not the first big move taken by the government to boost the childbirth rate. Beijing has cracked down on extracurricular tutoring to reduce parents’ financial burden and students’ stress, which has led to the shutdown or bankruptcy of many well-known education companies, including Wall Street English China and Spirit Kids Royal English.
Other policies are also being rolled out in part of the country, such as longer maternity leave, maternity pension, and free travel on tubes for children.
Scholars in China generally believe that the low fertility rate – 1.3 in 2020 – is mainly caused by the high costs of raising a child. The three-child policy, therefore, implies more changes to come in order to make parenting easier in China.
So far, the released birthing-favoured policies are quite well received by some people, encouraging many youngsters in big cities to give birth in their late 20s. However, there are still lots of people who insist that they won’t change their minds just because of these policies.