China registered the fewest marriages last year since its public records began more than three decades ago — adding to concerns that the country faces a looming demographic crisis, media reports said.
There were 7.6 million marriage registrations in 2021, data released by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs last week showed, CNN reported.
That’s the fewest since 1986, when the ministry began publicly releasing the figures, according to the state-run Global Times, marking a 6.1 per cent decrease from the previous year. It was the eighth consecutive year when marriage rates have fallen.
At the same time, the average age of newlyweds is inching up, with nearly half of those married last year aged 30 and above.
The figures reflect a trend that is increasingly a cause for concern among officials in the world’s most populous nation, home to 1.4 billion people. Young people, especially millennials, are increasingly choosing not to get married or have children and even when they do, they tend to do so later in life, CNN reported.
Experts say the knock-on effect on what is already a shrinking workforce could have a severe impact on the country’s economy and social stability.
In just six years, the number of Chinese people getting married for the first time fell by 41 per cent, from 23.8 million in 2013 to 13.9 million in 2019, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
The decline is partly due to decades of policies designed to limit China’s population growth, which mean there are fewer young people of marriageable age, according to Chinese officials and sociologists.
But it’s also a result of changing attitudes to marriage, especially among young women who are becoming more educated and financially independent, CNN reported.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)