Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDQ: SINA) recently reported that, in 2021, the number of marriage registrations in China dropped to 7.636 million couples. This meant there had been a decline for eight consecutive years. In addition, the age of each first marriage has been significantly delayed. In 2021, the average age of the first marriage of those in Anhui Province was 31.89 years old for males and 30.73 years old for females. The reasons for the decline in the number of marriages are: first, the decline in the number of young people, second, there are more men and fewer women in the marriageable population, third is the high cost of raising children, fourth is the high cost of marriage, fifth is fierce social competition and employment pressure, and lastly, the younger generation’s perception of marriage has changed. Economists suggested the following to tackle the situation. First, increase the supply of residential land in big cities and provide housing subsidies for families with children; second,reduce the costs of childbirth, childcare, and education; third, establish a social support system that is gender-equal and child-friendly; fourth, relax the conditions for adoption and placement; fifth, lower the legal age of marriage to 18; and sixth, protect single women’s reproductive rights. The suggestion of lowering the legal age of marriage to 18 years old resulted in intense discussions and controversies online, and one time even ranked at the top of the national hot search. Currently, the legal age of marriage in China is 22 for men and 20 for women. It is lower than Japan, the U.S., India, Germany, France, Canada, and even Mexico. The ultra-low birth rate and the rapid shrinkage of the young population have become major challenges facing Chinese society.
Source: Sina, February 8, 2023