Expectation of a Baby Boom in the Lunar Year of the Dragon
”A significant increase in births”. Or better, a real baby boom is what the Chinese authorities and medical personnel are expecting during this lunar year of the Dragon. This is in part due to the post-pandemic recovery after Covid-19 and Beijing’s policies to support fertility and procreation. But mainly, it’s because many couples are hoping to have ‘dragon children’, believed to bring luck according to the zodiac sign. Predictions by Zhai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association and professor at Renmin University of China, suggest a notable increase in the birth rate in 2024 compared to 2023.
The Beliefs Surrounding the Dragon Zodiac Sign
As the only mythical creature among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is considered divine, powerful, intelligent, confident and ambitious. Many believe that children born in the Year of the Dragon are more likely to have success and luck throughout their lives. This belief drives some couples to opt for IVF or schedule cesarean section to ensure their children are born in the year of the Dragon.
Is the Belief in ‘Dragon Children’ Unfounded?
The superstition is not entirely unfounded, notes the Washington Post. A 2019 study suggests that those born during the Year of the Dragon were more likely to score higher on college entrance exams and to have a college education. However, the study attributes this to the extra time and money that parents spent on those children, rather than to cosmic influences.
Preparations for the Year of the Dragon
Hospitals across China have posted timetables and tips to educate couples on when to conceive to have a ‘baby dragon’. Zhai Zhenwu, adviser to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, also expressed hope for a higher fertility rate this year due to these astrological preferences.
What Does 2024 Hold?
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2024 will be the year of the Wooden Dragon. The dragon in Chinese culture symbolizes power, nobility and intelligence. Combined with Wood, which represents growth, development and prosperity, 2024 is expected to bring opportunities, changes and challenges. Notably, the previous year of the Dragon in 2012 saw a baby boom.
China’s Population and Birth Rate
China’s population shrank by 2.08 million people in 2023 to 1.40967 billion, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in January. In 2023, 9.02 million children were born, with a birth rate of 6.39 per thousand people.