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Beijing Expects New Baby Boom

There was a sharp spike in the number of people who got married here last year with more than 340,000 people tieing the knot.

The city's civil affairs bureau reports that 171,299 couples register for marriage in 2006, up 77 percent from the previous year, and the highest number in 25 years.

The children of a 1980's baby boom have come of age and they made up most of the couples who were married last year, said a bureau director Li Ziwei.

According to the Chinese zodiac the year of the dog plus the lunar calendar's unusual double spring in 2006 made it a particularly good year for unions. This coming year, the year of the pig, is also a good year to have a baby.

City officials earlier said they are expecting another baby boom and the increase in marriages appears to signal its start. Many of the young couples were raised as single children which entitles them to have a second child.

The number of permanent Beijing residents marrying non-permanent residents jumped to 40 percent of newly weds last year. In 2001, only 28 percent of Beijingers married people from outside the capital, said Li.

The number of people who were marrying for a second time also increased last year.

(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2007)

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