China's average marriage age continues to rise, driven by urbanization, education

2023-06-19 08:53:30Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Statistics show that the average age of first marriages in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has reached 31.48 years old and that of Liaoning Province was 29.79 years old, ranking first and second among the 17 provinces and regions that have released their census yearbooks, according to media reports.

Statistics showed that the average age of first marriages in the 17 provinces and regions was above 27, and eight provinces and regions had an average age of 29, media outlet reported on Saturday.

It should be noted that the data published by 16 of the 17 provinces and regions was from the 2020 provincial census yearbooks. In addition, data for East China's Jiangsu Province covered local marriage statistics for 2022, and was released by the provincial civil affairs department in February this year.

The later age of first marriages in Northeast China is mainly related to the relatively high degree of urbanization, Yi Baozhong, a professor of the Northeast Asian Research Institute of Jilin University, was quoted by as saying. Urbanization will bring about changes in people's way of thinking. 

Also, Northeast China is home to a large non-native population, attracting people from all across the country, meaning traditional concepts of fertility and tight family units were less pronounced. 

Separately, the average age of first marriages in Central China's Hunan and Henan provinces, North China's Beijing and Tianjin municipalities as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, was over 29. The average age of first marriages for males in Hunan, Beijing and Guangxi in 2020 surpassed 30.

The average age of first marriages in North China's Hebei, East China's Anhui and Jiangsu and Southwest China's Guizhou was between 27 and 28 years old. The average age of first marriages in Guizhou in 2020 was 27.26 years old, 1.41 years younger than the national average. 

On the whole, due to delayed urbanization and industrialization in Guizhou, the average age of first marriage was lower.

According to the China Census Yearbook 2020, the average age of first marriages in China changed relatively slowly from 1980 to 2010. The average age of first marriages was 23.59 in 1980 and 24.89 in 2010. In the second decade of the 21st century, the average age of first marriages has risen rapidly. The average age of first marriages in China in 2020 was 28.67, which was 3.78 years older than that in 2010.

Professor Ren Yuan of the population research institute of Fudan University was quoted by as saying that the age of first marriages is affected by a variety of factors. In addition to being affected by changes in employment and lifestyle due to industrialization and urbanization, an important factor is the improvement of people's education levels. The "post-1980s" and "post-1990s" have more years of education, which has largely delayed their marriage ages.

From the perspective of changes in China's urbanization rate, the year of 2010 was an important demarcation point. At the end of 2010, China's urbanization rate was very close to 50 percent. By 2011, China's urbanization rate reached 51.83 percent, media reported.

According to the civil affairs statistics for the fourth quarter of 2022 released by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, 6.83 million couples registered their marriages in 2022, down from 7.63 million in 2021, a record low since 1986 when the ministry started to release the marriage registration data. 

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