Tue, Oct 09, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Number of newborn babies reaches historic high

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

As a result of the “Year of the Dragon” effect, the number of newborn babies has reached a historic high, the Ministry of the Interior has estimated, though it added that it was worried that the figure may decrease next year because fewer couples opted not to marry this year.

While the nation’s birthrate has been declining continuously over the past decade, it has increased 14.5 percent from January with last month compared with the same period last year, the latest figures from the ministry showed.

Since the beginning of the year, around 163,000 babies have been born and the ministry estimates that the annual number of births could surpass 220,000 by the end of the year.

In a press release, the ministry attributed the increasing birthrate to the “Year of the Dragon” effect.

In traditional Chinese beliefs, children born during the Year of the Dragon are believed to be lucky and Chinese emperors were thought to be dragons in human form.

However, the ministry also has some worries.

“Compared with the same period [January to September] last year, the number of couples getting married has dropped by 7,060 — or 6.7 percent,” the ministry said. “It remains to be seen whether the childbirth fever will continue.”

Last year — the centenary of the Republic of China — was a popular year for couples to marry because it was seen as symbolic.

The ministry said the number of childbirths from binational couples has also been on the rise in recent years.

“On average, 9 percent of newborn babies are born from couples in which the father or the mother are of Hong Kong, Macanese, Chinese or other origin,” the ministry said.

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