Around 407,000 bereaved parents whose only child has died or become disabled, have been covered under a special national assistance program, according to a senior family planning official.
Wang Haidong, director of the family planning and family development department under the National Health and Family Planning Commission, revealed the figure in an online interview on Friday. He did not give an exact number of parents who lost their only child nationwide.
Previous estimations put the figure at more than 2 million.
The commission's 2010 year-end report said, about 76,000 families lose their only child each year on the mainland.
"This group of people has made contributions to the country's overall economic and social development by sticking to the family planning policy. Now they've lost their only child in an accident or in some difficult situation, and the government must lend a hand," he said.
The commission and four other central government bodies, issued a circular on Thursday, raising the monthly allowance for couples whose only child has died and requiring further support for the family planning policy program.