Number of left-behind children down 22.7 percent in two years

Updated: 2018-11-01

  China had 6.97 million left-behind children living in rural areas as of August, a 22.7 percent drop from 9.02 million in 2016, an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

  Left-behind children are rural children whose parents work in cities, leaving them behind in the countryside to be cared for by relatives.

  Ni Chunxia, deputy director of the ministry’s Department of Social Affairs, said the decline was mainly due to central government efforts to encourage migrant workers to return to their rural hometowns for employment or business opportunities. Efforts to help rural children attend urban schools in the cities where their parents work also played a part.

  She said almost 70 percent of left-behind children are scattered across seven provinces: Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, Henan, Jiangxi, Hubei and Guizhou. Sichuan topped the list, with almost 800,000.

  Grandparents cared for 96 percent of left-behind children, with the rest cared for by other relatives, Ni said, adding that 55 percent of left-behind children were boys.

  Some 42,000 left-behind children were ill or had disabilities, and some 200,000 were from registered poor families, she added. Those younger than 14 accounted for almost 90 percent and more than half were enrolled in primary schools.

  Ni said the percentage of preschool children had dropped from 33.1 percent in 2016 to 25.5 percent in August, while the percentage of school age children had risen from 65.3 percent to 71.4 percent.

  Source: China Daily

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