China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has released its quarterly statistics, revealing that the number of marriages in 2022 was 6.833 million, representing a decrease of 10.5 percent or 803,000 marriages compared to 2021. This marks the lowest number of marriages recorded since 1986 when the statistics were first published. It also marks the ninth consecutive year of decline since the peak in 2013 when there were 13.469 million marriages, indicating a significant drop of 49.3 percent over the past nine years.
Several factors contributed to this rapid decline in marriages. First, there is a trend of postponing marriage and childbirth, leading to a rise in the average age of first marriages. The average age of first marriages in China was 24.89 years in 2010, but it increased to 28.67 years in 2020. Second, there has been a decline in the number of individuals of marriageable age, affecting the pool of potential spouses. Additionally, changes in societal attitudes and the impact of the epidemic are also influencing factors.
The declining marriage rate will have profound implications for China’s future birth rate, particularly the first-child birth rate, which fell below 5 million for the first time in 2021, reaching 4.683 million births. The National Health Commission attributes this decline to the prolonged education and increased employment pressure faced by the younger generations born in the 1990s and 2000s, many of whom grew up and worked in urban areas.
Overall, the decreasing number of marriages in China indicates a significant shift in societal dynamics and will have long-term consequences for the country’s demographics.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 12, 2023