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China’s Rate of First-Time Marriages Drop Nearly 10% in 2022, Reaching Lowest Level in Years

According to China’s 2023 Statistical Yearbook, the number of first marriages in China in 2022 was 10.51 million, a 9.16% drop compared to 2021. This is the first time in years that first marriages have fallen below 11 million. The peak was in 2013 with 23.85 million first marriages; the number has dropped 55.9% over 9 years.

Dong Yuzheng, a demographic researcher affiliated with Guangdong provincial government, analyzed several factors contributing to this decline. These include:

  • The number of young people of marriageable age is decreasing.
  • As the population ages, willingness to marry is weakening among some groups.
  • The number of people not getting married is gradually rising.
  • Some marriages were postponed from late 2022 to 2023 due to the epidemic, impacting last year’s numbers.

Reasons why young people today are less likely to want marriage include: (1) changing perception of the stability of marriage, (2) changing views around obligation to get married / have children, and (3) rising costs of married life.

The decline in first marriages will lead to lower fertility rates. According to Yi Fuxian, an expert on China’s population and a senior researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, China’s demographic structure means that China’s economy will likely never surpass that of the U.S. He called on Beijing to face up to China’s declining population and civilization.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), November 20, 2023