Fewer couples tying the knot in first-tier cities

The number of marriages recorded in Shanghai continued to drop in the first half of this year, with experts pinning the decrease on a combination of demographic and social factors.

The number of marriages recorded in Shanghai continued to dwindle in the first half of this year, with experts pinning the decrease on a combination of demographic and social factors.

A total of 27,729 local couples tied the knot in the first quarter, a decrease of about 5.9 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China.

In the second quarter, 54,656 couples said “I do,” down about 6.6 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

During the same quarter, Shanghai witnessed 73,561 marriages in 2014, 68,221 in 2015, and 64,713 in 2016, official figures show. 

Shen Xinyi / SHINE

In the second quarter, 54,656 couples said “I do,” down about 6.6 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

In part, the drop stems from a decline in marriage-age people, experts say.

“The number of people born after 2000 is nearly 100 million less than those who were born after 1980 in China, meaning fewer people are reaching marriage age,” said Yang Xiong, director of the sociology department at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Rising costs of living, including higher prices for real estate, were also cited.

“High commodity and housing prices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou have scared away many youngsters from stepping into marriage,” he explained.

Yang also pointed to changing mindsets among younger generations.

Young people want to raise their life quality, and many believe their quality of life will be affected by marriage, buying a house and raising children, he said. As a result, marriage and birth-rates are low in many of the world’s first-tier cities.

“Some young people deem marriage as a kind of chain, which is a worldwide phenomenon,” he added.

“I don’t want to step into marriage very soon because I want to enjoy more dating time,” said Echo Cheng, a 29-year-old teacher who has been dating for more than two years.

“After marriage, I can’t be as free as I am now. I’ll need to face my husband’s family and a lot of family matters,” she said.

Jack Yang, a 28-year-old single IT worker, said he would only consider marriage once he has bought an apartment in Shanghai. “It’s hard to pursue a girl if you have nothing, but buying an apartment here is a very difficult job,” he said.

Nationwide, the marriage trend is similar.

Last year, 10.63 million couples tied the knot across China, down about 7 percent from 2016.

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