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Chinese family size shrinking as single-member or seniors-only families increases


Small-sized families of two to three members have become the main family size with nuclear families making up of more than 60 percent with the percentage of single-member or seniors-only families increasing, according to a report released by China’s top health authority on Wednesday.



The report on Chinese Family Development 2015 was released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, who conducted a survey of 32,494 households and 184,439 people in 1,624 villages, 321 counties and 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.



The report also said that most seniors take care of themselves or rely on their family members, and they need more social services.



The report shows that Chinese families averaged 3.35 people, with rural households having 3.56 people on average and urban families 3.07 people.



Small-sized families of 2 to 3 members have become the most common, ranking on top and accounting for 21.9 percent and 31.7 percent respectively.



Four-member and five-member families are next with 21 percent and 11.5 percent, and single-member families rank fifth, standing at 6.4 percent.



Nuclear families are now the most common kind of family, standing at 64.3 percent of all families.



In rural areas, left-behind children make up 35.1 percent of all children living there, left-behind wives represent 6.1 percent of all wives, and left-behind senior parents account for 23.3 percent of all seniors.



Half of the seniors in urban and rural areas do not stay with their children, among whom 10 percent live by themselves and 41.9 percent live with their spouse.



Most seniors take care of themselves or rely on their family members.



There is growing demand for society to provide more healthcare services to the elderly.



For all seniors, the external financial support mainly comes from their children.



Rural seniors rely more heavily on their children financially than their urban counterparts.



The report also reveals that there is a huge gap between family incomes, as the income of the top 20 percent families is 19 times the income of the bottom 20 percent families.



And the families who adopt the family planning policy develop far better than those who fail to comply in terms of finance, healthcare and communication between parents and children.



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