Income

Raising children in Hong Kong costs nearly 70% of median household income: survey

Hong Kong’s total population saw negative growth in 2021, with data showing a declining birth rate as one of the main reasons.

A recent survey found that the average cost of raising a child in Hong Kong is nearly 70% of the city’s median household income.

According to its Census and Statistics Department (CSD), Hong Kong’s total population was about 7.4 million at the end of 2021, a decrease of 23,600 from the end of 2020.

Natural decline (deaths exceeding births) and net exodus of Hong Kong residents have been identified as two of the main factors contributing to Hong Kong’s negative population growth.

Between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021, a natural decrease of 14,200 was recorded, with 37,000 births and 51,200 deaths.

Public data shows that the birth rate in Hong Kong has fallen steadily over the past 10 years.

The annual number of live births per 1,000 population was 13.5 in 2011, falling to 7.0 in 2019, according to the city’s fertility trends report (pdf) released in December 2020. However, this number had fallen to less than five per 1,000 population in 2021, according to the latest data.

“Birth rate” is the number of births per 1,000 people in a population per year, while “Fertility rate” is the number of live births per 1,000 women of reproductive age in a population per year.

Another set of data suggests that women in Hong Kong have a much lower fertility rate than those in other developed countries.

According to the Hong Kong Population Projection Report (2020-2069) (pdf), released in September 2020 by the CSD, the city’s fertility rate peaked at 1,285 in 2012, and in 2019, this number fell to 1,051.

By comparison, in 2019, Japan’s fertility rate was 1,429; Australia, 1,800; Sweden, 1,705; the United Kingdom, 1,653; and the United States, 1,840.

The report predicts that between 2024 and 2064, Hong Kong’s fertility rate will remain well below that of the United States, Britain, Japan, Australia and many advanced economies, the year 2039 being its lowest point with a fertility rate of 955.

Additionally, the report suggests that Taiwan, which had a fertility rate comparable to Hong Kong’s in 2019, will overtake Hong Kong by 2024 and continue its upward trend. And South Korea, which has a lower fertility rate than Hong Kong, will overtake Hong Kong in 2029 and maintain the upward trend.

High custody cost

A recent survey in Hong Kong found that currently raising a child in the city costs about HK$284,000 ($36,000) per year, while raising a child up to the age of 22 would cost at least HK$6 million ($765,000). New.

The survey was conducted by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Bank in June, in which 633 Hong Kong citizens between the ages of 30 and 64 with at least HK$1 million ($128,000) d short-term workers were asked about their plans for parenthood and retirement.

Among respondents who were parents, 79% said they were concerned about the future of their children and hoped to take care of them until they graduate and become financially independent, according to the report.

The survey said the top six categories included general living expenses such as meals and transport, tuition, interest courses and cram schools, entertainment such as vacations abroad and study tours, medical expenses, insurance and savings plans, according to the Hong Kong Business Times. (HKBT).

According to the CSD’s 2021 population and household data (pdf), the overall median monthly household income in Hong Kong was HK$35,000 (about $4,500) in 2021, or HK$420,000 (about 54 $000) per year.

If raising a child in the city cost around HK$284,000 ($36,000) a year, as the survey above suggests, that would be almost 70% of the median household income in Hong Kong, a burden important financial.

Low birth rate in mainland China

A similar problem is also seen in mainland China.

Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) recent introduction of a three-child policy to counter the country’s aging population, most families are unlikely to have two children, let alone a third child. , due to the high costs of raising a child in China.

The CCP Health Commission said on May 31 that “after introducing the two-child policy, a large portion of families still decided not to give birth despite wanting another baby.”

The commission, citing a survey, suggests that the top three reasons were “a heavy financial burden”, “an unsupervised child” (meaning parents are unable to devote time to caring for young children) and ” the difficulty of reconciling family and work”. Among them, “heavy financial burden” was the main reason for 75.1% of families. More than half of the families surveyed also feared having an “unsupervised child”.

Furthermore, a recent study published by YuWa Population Research, a Chinese demographer, said that the high cost of childcare in China makes its people one of the lowest ranked in the world in terms of average willingness to have children. The report says the ideal number of children in China averages less than two per couple, while most countries have more than two.

The report adds that when comparing the country’s average childcare cost to its GDP per capita, China is ranked second in the world, with its average childcare cost equivalent to 6.9 times its GDP per capita. inhabitant. South Korea ranked first with a ratio of 7.79 times.

By comparison, the UK is 5.25 times better; the United States is 4.11 times; Germany, 3.64 times; Japan, 4.26 times; and Australia, 2.08 times.

Countries with higher ratios indicate greater parental pressure and therefore tend to have lower fertility rates, according to the report.

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Anne Zhang is a staff writer for The Epoch Times and focuses on China-related topics. She started writing for the Chinese language edition in 2014.