China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs released its 2022 report showing that only 6.835 million legal marriages were registered last year. This represents a 10.6% drop from 2021 and the first year in recent history with fewer than 7 million marriages.
A Yicai report linked the sharp decline in marriages to (1) people delaying their first marriages, (2) a smaller population of marriage-aged people, (3) changes in mindset among the marriage-aged population, and (4) the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistics show that marriages in China fell below 10 million in 2019, below 9 million in 2020, below 8 million in 2021, and now below 7 million in 2022. The trend of decline in marriages has continued for 9 years following the peak of 13.469 million marriages registered in 2013.
Age distribution data show that only 15.2% of marriages in 2022 were entered by people 20-24 years old, down 1.3 percentage points from the year before. A health official said that those born in 1990s and 2000s who grew up in cities with more education and job competition are delaying marriage and children.
Source: Radio Free Asia, October 15, 2023