China’s Xian to give lottery tickets to newlyweds in bid to spur births

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 10:42 PM

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Authorities in China’s city of Xian will spend 700,000 yuan ($97,000) on lottery tickets to give as prizes to newlyweds who present a marriage certificate, in an effort to encourage weddings at a time of fewer births.

China’s population fell for a second consecutive year in 2023, with new births dropping to about half those in 2016, while marriages hit a record low in 2022.With marriage rates closely tied to birth rates as unmarried mothers are often denied child-raising benefits, Xian promised a lottery ticket to any couple presenting a marriage certificate from March 1, as “a double surprise”.

“This is not only the beginning of a happy life after receiving the marriage certificate but also more likely to get a small gift,” the city’s civil affairs bureau said this week on its official Wechat account.

The campaign will run until November 30, it added.

China is one of the world’s most expensive places to bring up a child, relative to its GDP per capita, a prominent Chinese think tank said in February as it detailed the time and opportunity cost for women who give birth.

Fewer women are opting to have children, put off by the high cost of childcare or an unwillingness to marry or put their careers on hold, while gender discrimination persists.

($1=7.1987 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Farah Master and the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)