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Marriages in 2020 fall to 17-year low as declining trend continues

2021/11/23 11:33:32   source:Global Times

The latest official data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that 8.14 million marriages were registered in 2020, down 1.13 million from 2019 and the lowest level in 17 years. But the divorce rate dropped last year, halting a years-long upward trend.

This marks the seventh consecutive year of decline in marriages since 2013, when 13.4693 million couples were married. The number in 2020 was also the lowest since 2003, when 8.114 million marriages were registered, according to the China Statistical Yearbook 2021 published by the NBS recently.

Of the marriages registered in 2020, 8.126 million were mainland residents, and 17,400 involved foreigners or those getting married in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Also, 4.339 million divorces were registered in 2020, 361,600 fewer than in 2019. The rate fell to 3.09 percent.

The province with the highest divorce rate in 2020 was North China’s Tianjin Municipality, at 4.92 percent, and the lowest was Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region, at 1.75 percent.

Li Jianmin, a professor with the Institute of Population and Development at Nankai University, told the Global Times on Monday that in recent years the age of getting married has been delayed, and more people have been choosing cohabitation rather than marriage, which is also a phenomenon in developed countries. “Cohabitation has been accepted as an alternative to marriage,” Li explained.

Another fact is that the marriageable age population has been decreasing as the birth rate of people born after 1985 has been decreasing, Li said.

But there shouldn’t be too much concern, Li said, as the decline in marriage registrations won’t greatly affect the economy or society and the country will adapt to the change. However, he believes the divorce rate is likely to return to a rising trend in the long run.

The China Statistical Yearbook 2021 also revealed the rural sex ratio (males per 100 females) of each province last year, which showed there were more males than females in the rural population.

The ratio in rural areas was 107.91, compared with 105.07 for the total population in China's seventh national population census.

The sex ratio of the rural population in 31 provinces last year was higher than 100. And the ratio in 14 provinces was higher than 110, including Beijing (120.21), Shanghai (130.93) and South China’s Hainan Province (116.52).

In the urban populations of Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Anhui, Henan, and Sichuan provinces, Chongqing Municipality, and the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, the number of females was greater than that of males. 

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