Only 7.6 million marriages were registered in 2021 in China, a country of 1.4 billion people. That is a decrease of 6.1% compared to the previous year. This figure, disclosed by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs, is the lowest since 1986, when the institution began to publish a census of marriages, stresses Chinese state media Global Times.
It is the eighth consecutive year that the marriage rate has fallen, reports a CNN article. At the same time, the average age of newlyweds has also increased: between 1990 and 2016, it rose from 22 to 25 years old for women, and from 24 to 27 years old for men, notes the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. .
Today, stagnating wages, a very competitive labor market and the rising cost of living are all pressures that Chinese youth must face, which pushes them to push back the age at which they marry, says the Global Times.
The considerable decline in the number of marriages in China can also be explained by the existence of policies which have encouraged, for decades, to limit the country’s population growth: there are indeed fewer young people of marriageable age in the country.
Finally, Chinese youth – especially young women – also have a different view of marriage than previous generations. Confronted significant discrimination in their workplace and to patriarchal traditions – such as caring for children and household chores alone – some women are thus less and less inclined to the idea of getting married. Especially since Chinese women today have the opportunity to be better educated and to be financially independent.
A huge demographic crisis is looming
This decline in marriage is bad news for the country, since it comes on top of the fact that China is struggling to raise its birth rate, causing a demographic crisis.
In 2014, the country’s working-age population had shrunk for the first time in more than three decades. To address the problem, the government ended the following year to its one-child policythus allowing couples to have two children, before increasing this figure to three children in 2021. But this did not stop the decline in marriage and birth rates.
China is not the only country struggling with this problem. Japan and South Korea are also experiencing a sharp decline in their birth rate in recent years, and their population continues to decline. The governments of the three countries have all put in place measures to encourage births – such as financial incentives, vouchers, housing and childcare subsidies. Success, however, is limited.
Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.
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