23rd November 2023 – (Hong Kong) A recent survey has revealed that despite the Hong Kong government’s efforts to boost the birth rate by offering a one-time payment of HK$20,000 as a “newborn baby bonus,” 50% of Hong Kong residents believe that the new measures have no significant impact on encouraging childbirth. Additionally, 70% of respondents feel that the HKD 20,000 subsidy is insufficient to support the upbringing of a newborn baby. Overall, a staggering 96% of those surveyed stated that the government’s new policies, announced in this year’s policy address, would not influence their decision to have children.
The survey, conducted by HK Romance Dating Limited, a dating and matchmaking company, interviewed a total of 509 individuals from the end of last month to the middle of this month. The findings indicate that apart from the newborn baby bonus, 36% of respondents also believe that the government’s “Priority Selection Scheme for Families with Newborns” is ineffective due to inadequate quotas. Among the reasons cited, 75% of people highlighted the heavy financial burden of raising children in Hong Kong, while 72% mentioned the high cost of living and limited living space as significant factors discouraging childbirth.
The survey group suggests that in order to address these concerns, the government should provide additional support, allowances, and subsidies related to childcare and parenting. Proposed measures include increasing tuition and book allowances, childcare subsidies, living allowances for purchasing baby essentials, and establishing community support for childcare providers. In terms of employment, the survey recommends considering an extension of maternity leave to 14 weeks and paternity leave to 5 days. The group suggests referring to Singapore’s model of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and 2 weeks of paid paternity leave and implementing flexible work arrangements. Furthermore, it is suggested that certain lands or subsidized housing units should be designated exclusively for “families with children” and offer preferential benefits or subsidies to assist young couples in homeownership.
The current cost of raising a child in Hong Kong is estimated to be at least HKD 6 million. The survey findings highlight the need for targeted measures to alleviate the financial burden and provide comprehensive support for parents. The government’s efforts to incentivize childbirth through the newborn baby bonus and other initiatives will require further examination and refinement to address the concerns raised by the majority of respondents.