China's marriage registrations fall in Q1

2024-06-17 08:57:19Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The number of marriages registered in China in the first quarter of 2024 has fallen, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Friday, with experts suggesting that the compensatory effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have faded and that marriage registrations are expected to continue to fall throughout the year, media reported on Sunday.

According to the ministry, the number of marriages registered nationwide in the first quarter experienced a drop from 2.14 million pairs in the same period of 2023 to current 1.96 million pairs. The divorce registrations also dropped to 573,000 pairs from 641,000 pairs in the same period last year.

After peaking in 2013, the number of marriages registered in China has declined for nine consecutive years due to a declining population of childbearing age, before rebounding in 2023 due to compensatory registrations after the end of the pandemic, according to He Yafu, a demographic expert who has long tracked marriage registration data, Jiemian News reported.

The number of marriage registrations rose to 7.68 million in 2023, up from 6.83 million in the previous year, mainly because many young people postponed their marriages until 2023 due to the impact of the pandemic from 2020 to 2022, He said.

Due to the structural problems of the age of the population, the general trend of declining numbers of marriages will not change. This was further confirmed by the decline in data for the first quarter of this year, He added.

The reason for this, He analyzed, is the decline in the number of young people and the imbalance in the sex ratio of the marriageable population, with 17.52 million more males than females between the ages of 20 and 40, according to the official data. The structural problems will, to a large extent, determine the future development of China's demographic situation, the expert noted.

He added that the delay in the age of first marriage is also an important reason. According to census data, the average age at first marriage in China was 25.75 years for men and 24 years for women in 2010, and the average age at first marriage rose to 29.38 years for men and 27.95 years for women in 2020.

The high cost of marriage, excessive economic pressure, and changes in the concept of marriage and parenthood are also affecting people's marriage and parenthood behaviors, according to the report.

He went on to say that although births may rebound in 2024 due to factors including delayed childbearing, the downward trend in fertility and births will not be fundamentally changed in the long term due to a declining youthful population and changes in fertility attitudes, unless strong fertility support policies are implemented in the future.

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