Despite the planned universal two-child policy, many young couples are reluctant to have a second child because of concerns including the possibility of a lower standard of living, a survey has found.
The survey, conducted by China Youth Daily, polled about 3,000 people, more than half of them women.
It found that although 46 percent of the respondents expressed a willingness to have a second child, 52 percent said they worried that having one more child would reduce the standard of living they now enjoy.
Lei Lei, a Beijing resident whose daughter is 2 years old, said she doesn't want to give birth to another child, although her mother-in-law has urged her to do so.
"The cost of raising a child is high, and having another child will add to our already heavy financial burden," said the 28-year-old, adding that she is hiring a nanny to take care of her daughter and that she also is shouldering a house loan.
"Both my husband and I are State-owned company employees, and I earn about 7,000 yuan ($1,100) a month," she said. "Hiring a nanny alone costs 5,500 yuan (a month). We can spare no more for a second child."
However, Wang Libo, a professor of population studies at Shenyang Normal University in Northeast China's Liaoning province, said that raising a second child doesn't necessarily lead to a lower standard of living.
"Having another child doesn't mean parents have to buy a brand-new set of everything for the new baby. Many things used by the first child, such as clothes and books, can be shared with the second one," she said.
But Wang Haifeng, whose son is in fourth grade at a primary school in Beijing, disagreed, saying she believed that "children's education is actually the major field of cost".
"My son's tutorial classes alone cost me 30,000 to 40,000 yuan each year. We also have to bring him out for trips and traveling each year in hopes of broadening his horizons," said the 40-year-old. "I don't think we can afford a second child."
Lin Qingqing, a 29-year-old Beijing resident who gave birth to a second child seven months ago, has a deep understanding of the influence that a second child can have on quality of life.
"Expenditures have increased in every aspect. What's more, I have to spend almost all of my time taking care of my two children."