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China Elevator Stories

“How Much Does It Cost To Have A Second Child In Shenzhen?”

I share a cab with two co-workers.

07/11/2013

Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr

Author

One of my co-workers in Shenzhen recently had a second child. This was before China changed the one-child policy to a two-child policy.

The driver asks him: “How much does it cost to have a second child in Shenzhen?”
My co-worker anwers: “220,000 Chinese Yuan (around 27,000 EUR or 40,000 USD).”
The driver says: “Wow, that’s a considerable sum for a hukou (household register). We registered our second child back at home. 220,000 Yuan just for a hukou, now that’s a Shenzhen hukou not worth!”

The co-worker asks him: “Where are you from?”
“I’m from the countryside of Hunan. When we had our second child, we just needed to treat the people responsible to a nice dinner with enough drinks and give them presents, that was it. That’s how it works where I’m from. 220,000 RMB is such an unbelievable sum.”

My co-worker tells him: “I’m from Hunan as well. We also went back and gave birth to our second child there. But it’s still governed quite strictly, we had to pay 50,000 Yuan. Nevertheless, it was still much cheaper than it would have been in Shenzhen. I’m from the Xiangtan area, really close to where Mao Zedong was born. They are quite strict about these things there. Anyways, nowadays a Shenzhen hukou isn’t as good as it used to be in the past. Today, a rural hukou can be even better than an urban one. You will sometimes get a subsidy in rural areas that you wouldn’t get in Shenzhen.”

What do you think about the one-child-policy and the hukou-system?

Explanation: Hukou (户口) is the Chinese word for a record in the Chinese household registration system. In China, where your hukou is registered will determine where you can go to school, get healthcare and much more. A hukou usually has to be registered in the city you were born in and cannot be changed easily.