According to a new report from YuWa Population Research, China has become the world’s second most expensive country in which to raise children, behind only South Korea.
YuWa’s data revealed that the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 in China is 6.9 times the GDP per capita. This figure is twice that of Germany, where the cost is 3.64 times GDP per capita, and around three times that of Australia and France (2.08 and 2.24 times GDP per capita). South Korea has the highest cost of raising a child to the age of 18 at 7.79 times GDP per capita.
The report also estimated that the average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is 485,000 RMB (69,430 USD), whilst raising a child through to college graduation costs 627,000 RMB (90,710 USD).
This news comes three months after the announcement that China’s population declined for the first time in sixty years, when millions were killed by widespread famine. The decline is partially caused by long-term effects of the one-child policy, but the high cost of child-rearing help explains the reluctance of the current generation to have kids.
The government’s response has been geared towards encouraging marriage and child-rearing among the younger generation. But improvements in China’s health and social care infrastructure will be more important in the decades ahead, as the number of elderly people dwarfs the numbers of younger adults available to care for them.
The hashtag accompanying the news has received almost 50 million views on China’s Twitter equivalent Weibo. Some Weibo users left tongue in cheek comments about child-rearing continuing well beyond the child’s 18th birthday, whilst others pointed out that China’s low average income is to blame.
The most liked comment, at over 5000 likes, spoke for China’s DINK (Double Income, No Kids): “And that’s just the money, not to mention the time and effort invested and the endless worrying from pregnancy onwards.