Ho Chi Minh City’s authorities are encouraging married couples to have more than one child but no more than two, and to not delay marriage beyond the child bearing age, as the birth rate in the city falls.

The city was in the early stages of making plans to inform the public about those issues, according to To Thi Kim Hoa, Head of the City’s population and Family Planning Division.

The Division reported that the birth rate in the southeastern and southwestern regions has fallen to 1.5-1.8 children per mother each year.

HCM City has the lowest birth rate in the country 1.33 children per mother last year, compared to 1.45 in 2009, according to Duong Quoc Trung, Head of the General Office for Population and Family Planning.

The birth rate in HCM City had fallen year by year, Hoa said, noting the main reason was the increasing cost of living, including higher expense to raise a child.

As people become more educated, they also realise that having only one or two children will benefit the family’s financial development, she added.

Mandeep K.O’ Brien, Acting Chief Representative of the UN’s Population Fund in Vietnam, told the local media that the birth rate in Vietnam had fallen from 2.1 in 2005 to 1.99 in 2011.

She said that Vietnam’s national programme on population and family planning in the last few decades had been very successful.

However, now the country needs to look to the future and take action against the falling birth rate as the population becomes progressively older, she added./.