Marriage rate dips to fresh low in China

BY SILVI WRITER

Fewer Chinese are getting married but more are getting divorced, while experts predict the country’s marriage rate to “decrease further”.

The marriage rate nationwide dipped to 7.2 newly wedded couples per 1,000 people last year, dropping for the fifth consecutive year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as China Daily reported this week.

The rate stood at 9.9 per 1,000 in 2013, and was 7.7 in 2017.

The declining figures come as the China is grappling with a mounting number of divorces.

Divorce 1

The divorce rate has been rising steadily since 2002, reaching 0.32 percent, or 3.2 divorced per 1,000 people, in 2017, according to the Social Service Development Statistical Bulletin of 2017. The number was 2.0 in 2010.

“The marriage rate is expected to decrease further because of the demographic structure,” Liu Yuanju, a researcher at Shanghai-based SIFL Institute.

Experts blame “a mixture of reasons” including an aging population and increasing economic pressures on those hoping to start a family.

The downturn in marriage rates is normal when considering the dwindling youth population, the main contributor to the trend, he said.

The decline in the marriage rate is closely related to the rising cost of getting married, especially the staggeringly high housing prices in some big cities and the increasing betrothal money a bridegroom has to give to the bride’s parents.

Marriage 1

“Marriage has become an economic issue as much as a social issue,” Li Jianmin, a professor of demography at the Institute of Population and Development, Nankai University, said.

The falling marriage rate and rising divorce rate in China reflect a global trend. For instance, in almost all OECD countries, the marriage rate has declined over the past few decades, according to an OECD report. And global experience shows socioeconomic development leads to a fall in the marriage and fertility rates.

The popularity of the internet and the diversified development of society have also contributed to the falling marriage rate in China, said Ge Daoshun, a research fellow at the National Institute of Social Development, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“With society becoming more inclusive and open, marriage is no longer the only way a woman can gain social status and success. This, to a large extent, has prompted a growing number of women to opt for a late marriage, or not marrying at all,” Ge said.

 

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