What can be used to improve people's willingness to have children?

  Experts believe that the concept of marriage and childbirth should be gradually changed

  □ Our reporter Zhao Chenxi

  "Assuming that the government subsidizes 1,000 yuan per month for the birth of a second/third child (from birth to age 3), are you willing to have a second/third child?"

  Recently, this question in the "Questionnaire on the Cost of Raising Infants and Young Children Under 3 Years Old in Zhejiang Province" has attracted attention.

According to the questionnaire, this survey is to gain an in-depth understanding of the cost of raising infants and young children under the age of 3 and provide support for the government to formulate relevant fertility policies.

  In addition to the Zhejiang Provincial Health and Health Commission, the Hainan Provincial Health and Health Commission has also recently conducted a fertility policy questionnaire, which also involves government fertility subsidies and other issues.

In this regard, Lu Jiehua, vice president of the China Population Society and a professor at Peking University, pointed out in an interview with a reporter from the "Rules of Law Daily" that from the signals and some measures released by various places, the current government in many places has begun to formulate fertility optimization policies to deal with fertility rates. drop problem.

  However, Lu Jiehua believes that in addition to "symptom" measures such as maternity subsidies, it is more important to gradually change young people's concept of marriage and childbirth, and strengthen family responsibilities and concepts.

  Multiple factors contribute to the decline in fertility

  According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, my country will have 10.62 million births and 10.14 million deaths in 2021, with a net population growth of 480,000, a natural growth rate of 0.34‰, and a birth rate of 7.52‰.

In 2020, the national birth rate was 8.52‰, and the national population net growth was 2.04 million.

  A decline in births has a range of negative effects.

For example, Lu Jiehua said that for the economy, insufficient labor supply in the future will directly affect economic vitality and motivation; the increasingly serious aging will bring about many problems such as difficulty in raising the elderly.

  Sun Yuhua, an associate researcher at the China Legal Strategy Research Center of East China University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that too low population growth rate may also have many indirect effects. For example, the population structure of low birthrate and aging population will directly affect the development of the real estate market; the much-concerned problem of reducing the burden of education is also related to the birth rate. Too low is related to the fact that many families have only one child, so they will have higher expectations for their children, and then continue to increase investment in education, frequent supplementary classes, and increase the burden on students and parents.

  "In recent years, my country's population development has faced a turning point. The growth momentum of the total population has weakened significantly, and the number of births has continued to decline." At the first regular press conference of the National Health and Health Commission in 2022, Deputy Director of the Department of Population and Family of the National Health and Health Commission Chang Yang Jinrui pointed out that the decline in the birth rate is the result of the combined influence of multiple factors.

  The first is the decline in the number of women of child-bearing age, especially women of child-bearing age.

During the "13th Five-Year Plan" period, the number of women aged 20 to 34 in the prosperous period of fertility decreased by 3.4 million per year, and 4.73 million in 2021 compared with 2020. This is an important factor driving the decline in the number of births.

  The second is the change of young people's concept of marriage and childbirth.

At present, "post-90s" and "post-00s" as the new main body of marriage and childbirth, most of them grow up and work in cities and towns, have longer years of education, and face greater pressure from employment competition. The phenomenon of delayed marriage and childbearing is very prominent, and women of childbearing age give birth. Willingness also continued to decline.

  In addition, under the influence of multiple factors such as housing, education, and employment, the cost of childbearing and parenting education remains high, which also increases young people's concerns about childbearing.

  In response to problems such as declining fertility rates, the state has successively implemented comprehensive two-child and three-child policies.

"The implementation of the three-child birth policy and supporting measures is to prevent a further decline in the number of births, promote the realization of an appropriate fertility level, and promote the long-term balanced development of the population." However, Yang Jinrui said that the current three-child birth policy has not been implemented for a long time, and it will be very difficult in the short term. Difficult to show obvious effect.

  Lu Jiehua believes that it is unrealistic to rely on the simple three-child policy to promote a sharp rise in the fertility rate, and it needs the support of a series of supporting policies.

  Many places have introduced policies to encourage fertility

  When introducing local governments to implement the three-child birth policy and actively introduce support measures, Yang Jinrui introduced that at present, 25 provinces across the country have completed the revision of population and family planning regulations, and some provinces have formulated implementation plans to increase the development and planning of inclusive childcare services. Provisions on the protection of the rights and interests of childbearing families.

  In fact, the government subsidies mentioned in the questionnaire of the Zhejiang Provincial Health and Health Commission have been put into practice in some places, using "real money" to solve children's "milk powder money".

  On July 28, 2021, Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province announced the "Sixteen Policies and Measures on Promoting Human Resource Aggregation", which stipulates that for families with household registration in Panzhihua who have two or three children in accordance with the policy, 500 yuan per child will be distributed per month. Childcare allowance until the child is 3 years old.

It is also the first city in the country to issue childcare subsidies.

  In addition to providing childcare subsidies, many places have introduced corresponding preferential policies for childbirth in terms of "living and living".

  For example, Linze County, Gansu Province provides a subsidy of 40,000 yuan for the purchase of a house in the county seat and 30,000 yuan for the purchase of commercial housing in the central market towns for families with second and third children; It is stipulated that resident residents of Hai'an City, families with two or three children whose children are under 18 years old, will be given a discount of 200 yuan/square meter for two-child families and 400 yuan/square meter for three-child families based on the market price when purchasing a house; Beijing It became the first city in the country to introduce preferential policies for childbirth in the allocation of public rental housing. Beijing’s Chaoyang District issued regulations in September last year that families with multiple children do not need to go through the registration of intentions, lottery sorting and other links, and can be given priority to public rental housing.

  Lu Jiehua believes that whether it is a maternity subsidy or a house purchase discount, these preferential policies will play a role in improving people's willingness to give birth to a certain extent.

On the basis of full practice in various places, if there are positive effects, in the future, the experience and practices of various places can also be considered and upgraded to a national system.

  Sun Yuhua suggested that local fertility optimization policies and effects should be considered into the government's performance assessment, so as to urge the government to pay more attention and give more investment.

  Raising the fertility rate must treat both the symptoms and the symptoms

  At present, most of the newly revised family planning regulations in various provinces regard extending maternity leave as an important measure. However, in Lu Jiehua's view, the most important consideration in encouraging childbearing is the impact of childbearing on women's career planning. Solve the worries of women of childbearing age.

  "Whether they can guarantee their income during maternity leave, whether they can successfully return to their original positions after maternity leave, and whether or not women who have not given birth can be discriminated against before entering the workforce are the most direct issues faced by women in the workplace." The Labor Contract Law stipulates that in Before the contract period expires, the employer cannot terminate the labor contract on the grounds of pregnancy, maternity leave and breastfeeding of female employees. Sun Yuhua believes that in addition to strictly abiding by the law, the state should also clarify the childcare sharing mechanism, and the cost of childbirth should be borne by the state, enterprises and families. share together.

  "When it comes to raising the fertility rate, we can't just focus on the second and third children, but realize that the first child is the foundation of the fertility pyramid. Only by allowing families to give birth and raise their first child smoothly can they be mobilized to have the second and third children. In order to curb the decline of the natural population growth rate.” In Lu Jiehua’s view, increasing the willingness to have children must “treat both the symptoms and the symptoms”. In addition to the “symptom” methods such as childbirth subsidies and occupational security, it is also necessary to “treat the root cause”—a gradual change The concept of marriage and love, concept of fertility and family concept of the main body suitable for marriage and childbearing, and create a good cultural environment for childbearing.

  Sun Yuhua agrees with this. He believes that the country should continue to strengthen family building and promote the "family" culture.

Affected by various factors, many young people place too much emphasis on individualism. More emphasis should be placed on family values ​​in publicity, and family responsibilities should be encouraged to gradually change their attitudes.

  The reporter noticed that the construction of a new type of marriage and childbearing culture also appeared in the recently released "China Family Planning Association's 2022 Work Points", which proposed that "respect the social value of childbirth, advocate age-appropriate marriage and childbirth, and eugenics and childbirth, and encourage husbands and wives to work together. Taking responsibility for childcare, breaking the stereotypes and bad habits such as high-priced betrothal gifts" as the focus, strengthen the guidance of young people's views on marriage, love and family, reshape the parenting culture of multi-child families, reduce education anxiety, promote "filial piety" and "harmony" family values, and promote the construction of positive and positive family values. Toward a new marriage and childbearing culture.

  In Sun Yuhua's view, in addition to promoting family culture, some institutional adjustments can be made to strengthen family concepts.

For example, in the reform of personal income tax, we will explore paying taxes on a household basis.

The current IIT system is not very fair for those families where only one spouse works. Although the special additional deduction for IIT involves children’s education, it is still relatively basic. If the tax can be paid on a family basis, the tax system will be more reasonable. , can also increase the fertility willingness of some women of the right age.