Zhengzhou, a city in Central China's Henan province, will subsidize new births in an effort to address the country's declining population.
The city will offer a one-time allowance of 2,000 yuan ($310) for families registering their first-born in the city, 5,000 yuan (about $770) for the second child and 15,000 yuan (about $2,300) for the third child.
In addition, the city will provide mothers with a minimum of two hours of breastfeeding time each day before the infant turns one year old. Both parents will also be given 10 days of paid leave each year for nursing before the baby turns three.
The city will also promote the use of pain-relief labor, such as epidurals, by lowering its cost. It will also lower the cost of fertility treatments and improve the infrastructure and services at maternity wards.
To address concerns about maternity leave, the city will encourage employers to adopt flexible work hours or allow new mothers to work from home. It will also provide subsidies to companies that offer nursing services.
By 2025, the city plans to ensure that every residential community has an affordable nursing center or kindergarten with at least 20 spots.
Zhengzhou, with a population of more than 12 million, is the latest Chinese city to offer subsidies to newborns.
In July 2021, Panzhihua in Sichuan province began providing a monthly stipend of 500 yuan ($77) for families with a second or third child in the city until the child turns 3, pioneering the encouragement of births through monetary incentives.
Several other cities in China, such as Hangzhou in Zhejiang province and Jinan in Shandong province, followed suit and introduced their own subsidy plans. Even Shenzhen in Guangdong province, a popular destination for migrating workers and young people, released a draft guideline in January that outlined plans to offer a one-time subsidy and a monthly stipend for newborns.
China is facing downward pressure on its population. In 2022, the country recorded a population drop of 850,000, the first such decline in more than 60 years.
The government has attributed the decline to a number of factors, including the country's aging population, rising costs of raising children, and a declining birth rate.