China’s marriage rate has declined, and it’s worrying the Chinese government.
There’s been a global trend. This trend has been millennials not getting married. The US, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and many other countries around the world have seen decreases in marriage rates. People are waiting longer to get married, and waiting longer to start families — if they start families at all. In some places, this isn’t as worrisome as it is in others. Namely, China is having a problem with the lack of marriages.
According to Quartz, China has seen a 6.3% drop in marriage rates from 2014. The United States, according to this source, had a marriage rate of 6.74 per 1,000 people in 2015. The thought is that both rates are going to continue to decline, at least for a while.
Why is this so worrisome in China?
Family is something far more ingrained in Chinese culture than it may be in other places in the world. One article on the subject stated: “The concept of family in China was so important that it was one of the few moral and ideological concepts to survive the decade-long turmoil and chaos of the Cultural Revolution relatively unscathed.”
As a result, the lack of marriages are beginning to worry Chinese parents. Parents are usually involved in their children’s love life to what a Westerner might consider an extreme degree. However, it’s not just the parents who often get involved. The Chinese government does, too.
The Chinese government is known to pressure young women into marriage. In 2013, a BBC article came out claiming that the government had called women who were 27 and unmarried “leftover women”. One woman interviewed, named Huang Yuanyuan said: “I’m nervous […] Because I’m still single. I’m under big pressure to get married.”
Why hesitant to get married?
There are many reasons why someone may be hesitant to get married. Of course, the problem of not having found a suitable partner is a big cause. There are also other factors as well, such as high work hours. According to the aforementioned Quartz article, there are many people who work over 44 hours per week. These people happen to be of marrying age, but the work leaves no time for building strong relationships that could lead to matrimony.
Women are also worried that in a way, they may be worse off. Women aren’t known for being well taken care of by the Chinese government. It may take more time and hard work for women to be respected in the workplace. Quartz said: “It’s not that single women are uninterested in having a love life—many are actually keen to get married—but too much is at stake.”
Without their rights being secured, women are trying to make sure that they can move on in life without risking anything they’ve worked hard for.
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