Hong Kong's fertility rate is hampered by high property prices. Photo: iStock
Hong Kong's fertility rate is hampered by high property prices. Photo: iStock

In a 2005 television commercial promoting personal savings among Hong Kong citizens, Olympic gold medalist windsurfer Lee Lai-shan said it cost HK$4 million (US$512,000) to raise a baby.

Considering the sharp rise in costs since then, the relevant figure must now be over HK$10 million, especially if one builds in rising housing prices.

Hong Kong couples thinking of starting a family today find themselves in a bind. The financial burden of raising and educating a child has become so intense that many are simply opting out of parenthood altogether.

Two-thirds of Hong Kong women do not want a child or any more children, according to the latest report published by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. On top of that, one in seven women are unsure if they want children. That last figure constitutes a 30-year high.

The survey, which has been conducted every five years since 1967, showed that one in 10 women were hesitant about having children in 2012.

Paul Yip Siu-fai, chairman of the Family Planning Association’s research subcommittee said, “Every family is worried about financial situations, responsibilities and education.”

With a sample size of more than 1,500 married women as well as over 1,000 of their partners, the survey also revealed women and men had sex about 3.69 times a month, down from 4.4 times in 2012.

Despite claiming they had satisfying sex lives, they listed small homes were the top factor stopping them from having sex.

According to the survey, the number of respondents who cited crowded living space doubled to 27%. Likewise, some 27% of respondents cited having to share a room with children.

Hong Kong has the fourth-lowest fertility rate in the world. According to the CIA World Factbook, the city’s total fertility rate sat at just 1.19 in 2017.

Family Planning Association figures estimate that the average woman nowadays has 1.28 children, a slight rebound from the record low of 1.24 in 2012.

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