This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Chinese Baby Boom in the Making

January 23rd is the first day of the Chinese New Year and we will be moving into the year of the dragon, which is a good thing, as it turns out. BBC News reports that there are expectations of a baby boom in the making among Chinese couples.
The dragon, the only mythical creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, is regarded as a symbol of might and intelligence. In ancient China, the dragon was associated with the emperor.
Boys born in the year of the dragon, especially, are said to be destined to be successful and wealthy. 
 In previous dragon years, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and countries such as Singapore with a strong Chinese diaspora have experienced baby booms. In 2000, Hong Kong saw more than 5% rise in the number of births, according to official data.
This turns out to be propitious for the children, and good for certain kinds of retailers.
Makers of baby products and companies offering pre-natal and infant care services are fired up by the business prospects.
A Bloomberg report, citing Euromonitor International, estimated that sales of nappies in China will grow about 17% to 28.4 billion yuan ($4.5bn, £2.9bn) this year.
On the other hand, the downside of every bulge in births is that eventually there will be crunch in the schools and more competition within the cohort at exam time. Still, at the societal level, many people see the boom as a good thing, since ethnic Chinese fertility levels are very low. 
This would be a boon to Taiwan, which had the lowest fertility rate in the world last year. The average number of children born to women was 0.9, a drop from 1.03 the previous year. Similarly, Singapore also saw its lowest fertility rate in 2010 with 1.15 babies per female.

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