Date
28 March 2017
A family planning campaign that suggests that Hong Kong couples could consider having as many as five kids has come in for ridicule. Photo: FPAHK
A family planning campaign that suggests that Hong Kong couples could consider having as many as five kids has come in for ridicule. Photo: FPAHK

Can a HK couple afford to have five kids?

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) has come in for criticism over a television advertisement campaign which suggests that local couples could consider having five children.

Several citizens slammed the agency for making an impractical suggestion, given the high cost of living in the city.

Famous for launching the slogan “Two children are enough” four decades ago, FPAHK unveiled on Thursday a new advertisement which bears the title “How Many is Enough?”

In the ad, the non-profit organization pointed to the advantages of having as many as five children

One kid can make a solo music performance, twins can play together, four kids can form a choir, and five kids can form a basketball team, it says. There was no word on what three kids could do. 

It added that Hong Kong couples can give birth to as many children as they want as long as they plan well.

Lina Yan, chairperson of FPAHK, noted in a press release that as the women’s average actual parity had declined to 1.24 in 2012, the gap between their average actual parity and their average ideal parity (1.67) had widened to 0.43. It would mean almost 40 percent of the woman had not attained their ideal family size.

Delayed marriage and childbearing may account for the large proportion of women with
unattained fertility goals, Yan said, encouraging couples to make informed decisions with regard to child birth.

While the campaign aims to prompt people into making responsible choices, it was the headline suggestion that it is OK to have as many as five children that has drawn the ire of the public.

People commented in online forums that it is impossible to bring up five children, given the high property prices and steep educational costs and slow growth in salaries.

According to the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a family may have to spend about HK$5 million, in direct and indirect expenses, to raise a single child. Having five kids would mean the total cost will come to over HK$25 million. 

Apart from financial considerations, some Hong Kong mothers said they are exhausted bringing up just two kids, and that they cannot envision coping with five.

[Cantonese only]

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CH/JP/RC

EJ Insight intern reporter

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