Beijing, Oct 25 (EFE).- Hong Kong on Wednesday announced it would now pay parents HK$20,000 ($2,560) for each newborn as part of an incentive policy to address the declining fertility rates in the city.
“We will provide a one-off cash bonus of HK$20,000 for each baby born today or after in Hong Kong to a parent who is a Hong Kong permanent resident,” the city’s Chief Executive John Lee said in an address to the lawmakers.
The cash incentive is part of a broader policy that will be in effect for a minimum of three years before undergoing a review, as reported by state media.
The incentive policy also includes a 20 percent increase in the deduction limit for home loan interests and domestic rent, an expanded allowance for working families, and priority access to subsidized housing and public rentals, among other measures.
Moreover, authorities plan to establish 10 more childcare centers, significantly increasing the available daycare spots, with parents eligible to apply for a monthly HK$1,000 ($127) subsidy.
Hong Kong currently holds one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, at 0.9 children per woman in 2022, a significant drop from 1.29 in 2012 and well below the generational replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.
A recent survey conducted in August found that the number of childless couples has now exceeded those with children in the semi-autonomous city.
According to the World Bank, Hong Kong, with a population of roughly 7.4 million people, boasts a life expectancy of 85.4 years, ranking among the highest in the world.
It is projected that the proportion of people aged over 65 will increase from 20 percent of Hong Kong’s population to nearly one-third by the end of the next decade.
The high cost of living and raising children in the city is often cited as a major impediment to parenthood by couples in the former British colony. EFE