China faces marriage crisis

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The number of weddings has hit a 37-year-low, local report says

China’s annual rate of new marriages has fallen to the lowest point in more than three decades, contributing to the country’s already declining birth rate, news agency Yicai reported on Thursday, citing the National Bureau of Statistics. Covid-19 restrictions, education, and the cost of living were said to be among key reasons for the decline.

Around 11.58 million people registered their first marriage in China in 2021, down by 708,000 from the year before. It is the first time since 1985 that the annual number of people entering their first marriage has fallen under 12 million. The same metric peaked with 23.8 million in 2013, but has since decreased by 51.5%, according to the report.

Song Jian, a demographer at the Center for Population and Development Studies at the Renmin University told the Global Times on Friday that the declining marriage rate was due to a rise in the age in which people tie the knot for the first time, mainly due to more access to higher education and “young people seeking professional stability before getting married.” Song added that reduced in-person contacts during the Covid-19 pandemic and the high cost of raising children are also among the major factors.

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