China one of the costliest places in the world to raise a child

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Hong Kong, February 22 (IANS): China is one of the most expensive places in the world to raise a child in relative terms, a new report said, with the disproportionate impact on women driving the country’s precipitously low fertility rate as it grapples with a demographic crisis.

The study by the China-based YuWa Population Research Institute found that the average nationwide cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 was about $74,800 – rising to more than $94,500 to support a child through a bachelor’s degree, CNN reported.

The cost of raising a child to age 18 in China is 6.3 times higher than the country’s GDP per capita, the report said – a ratio second only to South Korea, which has the world’s lowest fertility rate, and where the cost of child-rearing is 7.79 times the GDP per capita, CNN reported.

For comparison, the report said that the cost is just 2.08 times the GDP per capita in Australia, 2.24 times in France, 4.11 times in the United States, and 4.26 times in Japan – another East Asian country that has long struggled with a rapidly aging population and declining birth rate.

“Due to reasons such as the high cost of childbearing and the difficulty for women to balance family and work, the Chinese people’s willingness to have children is almost the lowest in the world,” the report said, adding, "It is no exaggeration to describe the current population situation as a collapse in the birth population," CNN reported.