Tuesday , July 16 2024

Parents proposed to have greater autonomy in effort to improve birth rates

This is seen as a radical change compared to the current Population Ordinance, which called for each couple or individual to have “one to two children.”

HÀ NỘI — Parents are expected to have greater autonomy in deciding the number of children to have and the timing between childbirths in an effort to improve the country’s birth rate, according to the draft population law.

Their decisions should be based on their health and financial conditions, according to the proposal by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

This is seen as a radical change compared to the current Population Ordinance, which called for each couple or individual to have “one to two children, with exceptions to be regulated by the government.”

Việt Nam issued the Population Ordinance in 2003, which was amended in 2008. The law aims to address population challenges at the time, including birth rate and population distribution.

When the ordinance came into effect, Việt Nam had not achieved replacement-level fertility until 2006. Around the same time, gender imbalance at birth became more pronounced.

The country’s population, now stands at over 100 million, entered the ‘golden’ period in 2007 and the ageing phase in 2011.

The ‘golden’ population has created a competitive edge for Việt Nam in its socio-economic development, alongside better population distribution as well as improved human resource quality, a higher human development index (HDI) and longer average life expectancy.

The MoH has called for changes to update the Population Ordinance in alignment with the current situation.

This means taking into account changes in the Party’s direction in shifting from family planning to population development, radically addressing issues related to population size, structure, distribution and quality, as well as rights, responsibilities and frameworks for different stakeholders in population management.

In the impact assessment report on the population law project, which is open for public comments, the MoH said that the replacement-level fertility level is at the lowest in the past 12 years and is expected to continue declining.

Việt Nam’s total fertility rate in 2022 was 2.01 children per woman. In 2023, this figure was estimated at 1.96.

The report also highlights significant fertility rate disparities between groups and regions.

The tendency to have few children or none at all has been emerging in urban areas, where economic conditions are high. Meanwhile, in several areas with socio-economic challenges, fertility rates remain elevated, reaching 2.5 children in some locations.

To sustainably maintain the replacement fertility level of 2.1 children per woman nationwide, the MoH proposes parents should have higher autonomy in childbirth.

The MoH expects that this measure will prevent birth rates from plummeting, resulting in a severely ageing population and its adverse impacts on socio-economic development as well as national security and defence. — VNS

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