As schools struggle with the declining birth rate, a new study reveals Hongkongers are willing to have more than one child but are held back by a lack of confidence in their own financial prospects. Nearly 70 per cent of 412 respondents aged 21 or older would like to get married and have children, the study by the YMCA in Hong Kong found. Among them, 57 per cent said they wanted to have two children. A further 16 per cent wanted to have three children or more, in line with the appeal by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in February, when he was chief secretary, for couples to have at least three children to alleviate the ageing population problem. While some couples wish to have a big family, they represent a minority in Hong Kong, which had the lowest birth rate in the world in 2003 - 0.94 children per women of child-bearing age. 'The survey shows people really want to have more children, but the current birth rate is just about 0.9 child per family. I think the government should consider why the difference between expectation and reality is so big,' said Bonson Lee Hing-wai, executive secretary of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. The survey found economic concerns were the main reason for couples' resistance to having children. Some 89 per cent were worried their financial status might not give them the means to raise children, while 81 per cent said children were a burden. Asked what could stimulate their desire to have children, one in four respondents said an improved economy and employment situation, followed by birth subsidies, an improved education system and an increase in tax exemptions for having children. Pastor Cedric Wong Yu-kwan, a father of a five-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, said he had been considering having a third child but would wait until his children started primary school. 'It's a lot of work to get children into the education system and be adjusted in it. The system keeps changing and we feel very frustrated.'