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Think tank Urges China to Prioritize Children as Economic Catalysts

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In the wake of China’s first population decline in over six decades, a groundbreaking policy paper by the Yuwa Population Research Institute has underscored the pivotal role children play in stimulating economic growth.

As the world’s second-largest economy grapples with the challenges of post-pandemic recovery, the paper argues that investing in the nation’s youth is a strategic move to invigorate consumption, expand domestic demand, and secure a robust economic future.

 

The Economic Landscape:

China faces a multifaceted economic challenge, with traditional drivers such as infrastructure investment and manufacturing reaching saturation points. The declining workforce and potential dip in consumer demand loom as threats to the nation’s economic stability. The policy paper from Yuwa Population Research Institute emphasizes that, in the current economic climate, children represent an untapped resource and the most promising investment for sustained growth.

 

The Urgency of Reversing Population Decline:

The paper highlights the urgent need for authorities to reverse the rapid decline in the number of newborns. It cautions that China’s demographic advantage will diminish as the young population shrinks, while conventional economic measures like interest rate cuts and real estate regulation have failed to bolster growth. To counteract this trend, the report recommends immediate action to encourage childbirth and parenting.

 

Policy Recommendations:

The Yuwa report suggests key policy changes to revitalize China’s demographic landscape and bolster economic prospects:

 

National Maternity Subsidies:

The paper recommends the distribution of maternity subsidies at a national level, ensuring uniform support for families across the country. This approach aims to eliminate disparities caused by varying policies at the local government level and encourages a more widespread and equitable distribution of financial aid.

 

Targeted Measures to Reduce Childbearing Costs:

Recognizing the high costs associated with childbearing and rearing, the report advocates for targeted measures to alleviate this financial burden. By implementing focused initiatives, such as tax incentives, reduced healthcare costs, and increased parental leave, the government can create a more favorable environment for prospective parents.

 

Overcoming Policy Implementation Challenges:

The paper acknowledges the existence of well-intentioned policies at the local level but highlights their failure to materialize due to insufficient funding and lack of motivation. It calls for a reassessment of the implementation process, urging local governments to prioritize and actively support policies that promote childbirth and family development.

 

The Social Dilemma:

The report delves into the societal reluctance to marry and have children, identifying the high cost of childbearing and the challenge of balancing family and work as significant deterrents. With the average fertility willingness of the Chinese people ranking among the lowest globally, the paper stresses the need for comprehensive measures that address both economic and social barriers to family expansion.

 

Insufficient Subsidies and Global Comparisons:

Despite existing subsidies, the report notes that China’s support for families falls below the standards set by many European countries. This revelation emphasizes the necessity of revisiting subsidy structures and increasing financial assistance to meet the evolving needs of modern Chinese families.

 

Conclusion:

 

As China navigates the complex economic terrain post-pandemic, the Yuwa Population Research Institute’s policy paper serves as a timely reminder of the indispensable role children play in securing the nation’s economic future. By implementing targeted policies, addressing societal concerns, and ensuring effective subsidy distribution, China can pave the way for a demographic resurgence that not only counters population decline but propels sustained economic growth in the years to come. The investment in children today is an investment in a prosperous and resilient China tomorrow.

M Moiz
M Moiz
M Moiz, is Research Student at Islamabad research Institute and work with THE THINK TANK JOURNAL

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