The influence of the Chinese Zodiac on fertility in Hong Kong SAR

Author: Yip P.S., Lee J., Cheung, Y.B.
Abstract: The annual total of births in Hong Kong SAR fell substantially in the past 20 years: hence the total fertility rate (TFR) followed the downward trend and dropped to a low of 0.9 below replacement level in 2000. Despite the long-term downward trend, short-run increases in the annual total of births and the TFR were exhibited. Such temporary fertility increases are identified in the Dragon Years of 1988 and 2000. The phenomenon of fertility changes associated with zodiacal animal years is examined in this paper with a view to gaining some insight into whether Chinese cultural preferences and folklore beliefs might have influenced prospective parents’ reproductive behaviour. The paper explains the underlying philosophy of the Chinese astrological tradition and discusses how zodiacal preferences affect fertility between 1976 and 2000. The paper also explores why zodiacal influences on Chinese fertility before 1976 did not exist. It is unquestionable that the Dragon Year preference exerts an influence on fertility of modern Chinese populations through zodiacal birth-timing motivations. Birth rate rise in the Dragon Year is due to changes in timing of births that will have little effect on cumulative fertility.
Keywords: fertility, births, zodiac, Dragon, Chinese, astrological, reprodutive
Publication: Social Science Medicine
Issue: 55(10)
Dated: Nov 2002
Pages: 1803-12

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