The number of divorces has been soaring in China in the past 16 years, as the marriage rate significantly falls since 2014.
Ten million couples registered their marriages in 2017, a 7 percent decline from 2016. Meanwhile, about 4.37 million couples divorced in the same year, up by 5.2 percent, according to a 2017 social service development communiqué published on the website of the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Communiqués in the past 20 years show that China's divorce rate has soared from 1.8 per thousand persons in 2002 to 3.2 per thousand persons in 2017. Marriage rates have sharply declined. After peaking at 9.9 per thousand persons in 2013, the marriage rate in 2017 dropped to only 7.7 per thousand persons.
China's marriage age has also changed, with a growing trend of late marriages. Before 2012, couples between 20 and 24 years old accounted for the most married people. But since 2013, couples aged between 25 and 29 have taken the lead.
Authorities in China have tried to slow down the divorce rate. Courts in several provinces, including Sichuan, Fujian and Shandong, have introduced a three-month cooling off period to try to save the marriage.
A draft recommendation released by the Supreme People's Court in July said the cooling off period is likely to be promoted nationwide, and couples could use the period for mediation and marriage counseling.