Xi’an Bets on Fertility with Free Lottery Incentive


In the historic city of Xian, an unusual charm to invigorate fertility rates has emerged: newlyweds are receiving free lottery tickets. Officials in this bustling metropolis believe that the promise of potential wealth may be the incentive that tilts the scales for couples on the fence about expanding their families. At a time when China grapples with a worrying population dip, such measures are deemed necessary to offset impending economic strife.

The city has earmarked a sum of 700,000 yuan—or 97,000 US dollars—to fund this innovative scheme. This budget will suffice to bestow as many as 140,000 lottery tickets upon elated pairs who can demonstrate their marital union. The incentive will be available from March 1 to November 30, a testament to the government’s commitment to promoting domestic bliss and, indirectly, population growth.

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Gambling met its nationwide prohibition with the rise of the Communist Party in 1949, aside from two state-sanctioned exceptions—the Welfare Lottery and the Sports Lottery. Despite the declining popularity of procreation, these lotteries have witnessed soaring success, amassing over 375 billion yuan last year alone.

As the nation witnesses its second consecutive year of population decline, alarm bells ring over the reduction in the number of newborns—now just half of the number in 2016. With marriages plummeting to an all-time low in 2022, the interconnectedness of matrimony and procreation surfaces, exacerbated by legislative practices that penalize unmarried mothers.

China’s demographic challenges have deep-rooted historical origins, traceable back to the controversial one-child policy instituted in 1980. This policy, though abandoned in 2015, birthed a skewed gender ratio due to the cultural predilection for male heirs—resulting in indelible societal imbalances. Now, with the birthrate precariously low, the Chinese government advocates for a three-child norm, but the path forward is fraught with economic and social hurdles.

Yet, whether lottery incentives will spark a fertility rejuvenation remains in question. Reflecting on US attempts to use lotteries to influence public health choices during the pandemic, the evidence of their effectiveness is lacking. The chance-driven nature of a lottery appears insufficient in swaying decisions as intimate and consequential as family planning.

Free lottery tickets, traditionally an insignificant factor in deciding to start a family, suggests the need for more robust policies and support systems to truly encourage demographic growth. Only time will tell if financial allure can indeed inspire a generation to embrace parenthood.

Curiously enough, while the promise of a lottery win may not substantially sway decisions in family planning, the allure of potential riches continues to captivate people in many other aspects of life. Take, for instance, the world of online casinos—a sphere where the thrill of a gamble and the dream of a jackpot can provide endless entertainment. For those enticed by the virtual shimmer of slot machines and the strategy of card games, look no further. We at West Island Blog have curated a comprehensive list of the top online casinos for this month. Indulge in the excitement from the comfort of your own home, knowing that each click could lead to your next big win. Discover our favorites here.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.