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Marriage rates in China show a long-term downward trend

Uncertainty may have to do with lack of trust in government support on children, and personal economic prosperity

According to the Chinese civil affairs ministry, the number of newly married couples has fallen for the first three quarters of 2021, when compared with figures for the previous year (Photo by Andre Jackson on Unsplash)

The marriage rate in China is continuing to fall in spite of policies from the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aimed at encouraging people to have more children, according to a report.

According to the Chinese civil affairs ministry, the number of newly married couples has fallen for the first three quarters of 2021, when compared with figures for the previous year, with just 1.72 million couples tying the knot in the third quarter, a new quarterly low.

Evidence suggests the numbers are continuing to show a long-term downward trend that can't just be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have more to do with a lack of trust in the government's promises to ease the burden on couples who choose to raise children, Radio Free Asia reported.

A recent survey by the CCP's Youth League found that for Gen Z – young people born between 1995 and 2009 –  around 34 percent of nearly 3,000 urban respondents no longer regard finding a life partner as inevitable.

According to the survey, more than 43 per cent of women said they would either not marry, or were unsure if they would. Uncertainty about marriage was also linked to economic prosperity, with young people in richer cities more likely to want to stay single than those in smaller cities.

"The more developed the economy, the more people actively choose to be single," said the report said. "As economic development continues, the number of young people not keen on partnering up may continue to rise." 

In India too, a YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey in 2020 revealed that a fourth of millennials do not wish to marry and a fifth do not want children. According to a story in Mint, “[a]mong millennials, 19 percent aren’t interested in either children or marriage. Another 8 percent want children but are not interested in marriage. Among post-millennials (or Gen Z adults), 23 percent aren’t interested in either children or marriage. As in the case of millennials, 8 percent want children but are not interested in marriage. There is very little gender-wise differences in these trends.”

However, the link between financial prosperity and marriage in India was different than in China: those who were financially secure were less disinclined to marry than those who were not. It was also noted in the story that as per the survey,“[r]icher millennials are also more likely to have children than poorer ones.”

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    15.11.2021 | 03:45 PM IST

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