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Chinese Millennials Aren’t Having Babies, Picking Pets Instead

Kelly Wang, a 27-year-old woman based in Shanghai, recently took her cat Tangka on a six-hour-long weekend road trip. She rented a car and drove south of Shanghai to Lishui city, which is famous for spectacular rice terraces and mountain views.

“I don’t want her trapped in my apartment and getting bored,” says Wang, who works in the media industry in Shanghai, “I want her to see the beautiful world outside of my apartment’s walls.”

Wang credits Tangka with helping her find comfort in China’s most populous metropolis, which is located a 16-hour drive from her parents’ home. “It’s really assuring and comforting when you know someone will always be there waiting for you at the end of the day. My room is no longer a cold room, but a home.“

Fur Babies

Wang is part of China’s growing army of young people who opt to live alone without roommates and family around.

According to data released by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, China’s single population reached 240 million in 2018, while 77 million people lived alone. In 2021, the total number of single households is expected to rise to 92 million.

This change comes as Chinese millennials increasingly break away from traditional family values and lose interest in following their parents’ footsteps. Getting married and having babies early, if at all, is not a priority for many young adults — despite the best efforts of Chinese authorities to increase the birth rate.


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