A Weibo entitled “中国十大城市生育成本排行榜” (“Rankings for China’s most expensive cities to raise a child in,” Chinese only) has been sending parents across the country into a panic. Beijing tops the list, with an estimated required investment of around RMB 2.76 million per child from pregnancy to graduation from university. Based on a yearly household income of RMB 120,000, both parents would have to work continuously for over 20 years without food or drink to pay off this amount.
The complete rankings are:
1. Beijing: RMB 2.76 million
2. Shanghai: RMB 2.47 million
3. Shenzhen: RMB 2.16 million
4. Guangzhou: RMB 2.01 million
5. Hangzhou: RMB 1.83 million
6. Nanjing: RMB 1.7 million
7. Wuhan: RMB 1.6 million
8. Qingdao: RMB 1.52 million
9. Xi’an: RMB 1.42 million
10. Changchun: RMB 1.31 million
The costs of raising a child were broken down for each city into categories like prenatal fees, cost of consumer goods like infant formula and diapers, living costs, and school tuition. Here’s a sample of the cost breakdown for Beijing:
- Cost of proper pregnancy nutrition: Approximately RMB 40,000 per year
- Cost of consumer goods for a young child (includes infant formula, diapers, food, clothes, etc.): RMB 300,000 over six years
- Cost of education (age 7 to the end of university): RMB 600,000
- Other education-related costs (covers materials, make-up courses, and extracurricular activities): RMB 480,000 over 16 years
Yikes. Sure, tuition fees for top international schools in Beijing can exceed RMB 230,000 per year by Grade 12 or Year 13, but foreign families can often rely on expat packages to cover or help defray these costs. In general, expat families also boast a much higher annual household income than RMB 120,000.
The rankings have alarmed many Chinese netizens. Some viewed the numbers as sensationalistic. User @久违聆听 wrote: “These numbers are too shocking; they scared me!” Another user, @左剑影, said: “In front of such an expert calculation, I’m already starting to feel a bit weak.”
Others expressed disbelief. User @你妹05749 opined: “The costs can’t be that high for [where we live], can they?” User @偶是chen欣 wrote: “These numbers are probably for rich households. For our little lao baixing [ordinary person], it wouldn’t be so much.”
What do you think? Do these numbers seem overblown to you? Let us know in the comments section.
Photo from Weibo