New marriage mindset

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/12 17:53:40

Fewer Chinese are tying the knot

Official data shows that despite traditional encouragement to get married and have children, fewer Chinese are tying the knot, reported in April 2019.

The marriage rate in China dropped from 9.9 percent in 2013 to 7.2 percent in 2018, declining 2.7 percent over the past five consecutive years, according to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. More developed regions have lower marriage rates. 

This shift in the rate revealed the changing mindset of young people who see marriage more as gateways to a better life rather than a necessity. Why are people putting off marriage? Global Times interviewed some people about their views on this topic.

Not a necessity 

Traditionally, in Chinese society, marriage is seen as an important commitment to fulfill, following graduating from a well-known university and finding a high-paying job. 

But this mindset is now changing, as many don't see marriage as a necessity, but more of a personal choice. And many people would rather go without somebody than have a shoddy marriage. 

"I would rather wait for that right person than to marry out of pressure," Ruan Hui, 27, told the Global Times. 

In her view,  today's society is more tolerant of a person's personal choice of marriage than her parents' generation. 

"In the past, it is unacceptable that people are not married, especially for women. If you grow older and you are still single, people will point their fingers at you. Now things are changing," she said. She added that she has a lot of friends who are still single.

Li Huijie, 26, is not anxious to get married either.

 "One should be prudent to marriage as it is a lifelong commitment. I don't think you should lower your standards in order to get married. I would only consider dating someone and tying the knot when I meet the right person," she said. Li said she enjoys being a singleton. 

"I enjoy the state of being single. I can hang out with my friends and just be myself," Li said. "That said, I still believe in love, and it is not too late to meet the right person."

Personal development hindrance

The increased independence of Chinese women is another reason why they choose to wait to get married. Better educational backgrounds and career opportunities mean women don't have to rely on the financial support from men and settle for a  man who is lower than their expectations. 

According to a survey conducted by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, in 1986 less than 20 percent of postgraduates in Shanghai's colleges, universities and scientific research institutions were women. 

The survey also showed that by 2017, 68.4 million postgraduate students in these institutions in Shanghai were women, accounting for 50 percent; 12.7 million women obtained doctoral degrees, accounting for 48 percent.

Ren Kaiwen, 26, who has opted to stay single thus far, believes women can now play a bigger role in the workplace and academia and marriage is not the first choice when they come of age. 

"Marriage may become a hindrance to my personal development," Ren said, who works as an auditor at a Fortune 500 company. After graduating from a top university in Shanghai, she obtained a master's degree abroad and is applying for another master's degree in 2020.

"After I get married, I will be obliged to take care of my husband, my children and spend less time on my career building," she said. 

"I think it is important to pave the way for your career before reaching your thirties. It is also a period in life that allows you to get along with yourself and fulfill yourself," she said. 

Like many women who choose to be single, she purchased her own house in 2018. "I don't need much financial assistance from men," she said. 

A report by Beike Zhaofang, a house-trading platform, showed that single women are becoming increasingly powerful buyers in the housing market. 

Trade statistics from 68,000 deals made on that platform in 2018 show that 47.9 percent of the buyers are women, and 29 percent of them bought homes on their own without financial support from their parents. 

Increasing economic pressures to start a family is also one of the crucial contributors to the lower marriage rates. The soaring costs of housing and wedding costs have fueled a growing unwillingness to start families.

According to, an average wedding ceremony in Shanghai in 2017 cost around 340,000 yuan ($49,155.50) , which leads the nation.

"I think the prices of houses and marriage are unaffordable for most people from rural areas who are living and working in big cities," said Ruan. "If one plus one is less than two on both material and spiritual dimensions, why marry? "

A man holds a ring. Photo: VCG


A couple gets married at an outdoor venue, but marriage is no longer a necessity for some Chinese.Photo: VCG


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