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Why are young Chinese reluctant to get married?

(People's Daily Online)    16:10, August 19, 2019


23-year-old Liu Meng (pseudonym) recently broke up with her boyfriend of five years.

She said that she would graduate next year with a master's degree from a Beijing-based university and was firmly against her boyfriend's proposal of getting married soon after graduation.

She told People's Daily Overseas Edition that she would prefer to wait until she was between 30 and 35 to get married. Before that, she wants to dedicate more time to work, saving more money and traveling the world.

Liu is just one of a growing number of young people in China who don't think marriage is that important, according to data released by China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Official statistics reveal that the marriage rate across the country was only 0.72 percent in 2018, the lowest figure in the last 10 years.

Developed areas had lower marriage rates. For example, only 4.4 people out of every 1,000 in Shanghai got married, which is the lowest rate nationwide.

Getting married and having children early was popular among the older generations in China, but now individualism is prevailing over familism, said Professor Li Jianxin from the Department of Sociology at Peking University.

In an interview with several unmarried Chinese adults, there were varied reasons for their marital status.

Soaring marriage costs are a leading reason for late marriage and non-marriage, according to the survey results.

Zhang Shuai has been working as a civil servant for three years in Beijing. He has no plan to get married as he cannot figure out why marriage should be bundled together with houses and cars.

Most Chinese people, especially men, may hit 40 before they have accumulated the traditionally expected amount of money for marriage, said Zhou Ruoyu, a psychology teacher at a Chinese university.

On the other hand, the majority of female respondents said that they are capable of leading a happy life alone without a spouse.

Li Jia works in media and just celebrated her 30th birthday. She has a stable income and leads a fabulous single life made up of work, the gym, hobbies and traveling.

Many working females like Li Jia prefer not to settle down too early in case their life quality deteriorates after marriage.

Though marriage is a personal decision, it is also closely related to social development.

Professor Li noted that China has fewer children and an aging population. It should prepare for a demographic crisis, as more young people have a negative attitude toward marriage and having children early.

The choices of young people should be respected, and families, communities, and the whole country could take specific guiding methods to help create better conditions for marriage and childbearing. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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