The province of Jilin in China is offering “loans for babies” in the face of the country’s declining birth rate.
The region of Jilin, in the northeast of China, has started to offer loans of up to 200,000 yuan, or 37,000 euros, to couples who decide to have children. With the initiative, Jilin becomes the latest province to join an already large group of regions where couples are offered economic incentives as a means of controlling the declining birth rate.
Small businesses run by couples with two or three children will also be able to benefit from exemptions and discounts on local taxes, explained the regional government of Jilin in a statement.
China’s demographic problems are especially significant in the provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang, where many residents have moved to other regions to seek work and many young couples decide to delay their plans to get married or start a family.
In Jilin, the population dropped by 12.7% between 2010 and 2020.
The provinces are being encouraged to resolve their demographic problems with renewed impetus, after China announced last May a reform to the law that prohibited having more than two children, making a third child permitted.
The decision follows a census evaluation which revealed that the expansion of the Chinese population is at its slowest since 1950. This discovery increased fears that China will age before it gets rich, and sparked criticism that the authorities had waited too long to face this decline in the birth rate.
Recent data indicated that the fertility rate in China is 1.3 children per woman, similar to that of Japan and Italy, which are considered “ageing” societies. It is estimated that a proportion of two children per woman would solve this problem.
The province of Jilin has also promised to extend the duration of maternity leaves, from 98 days to 108, and paternity leaves from 15 to 25 days.
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