(Yicai) Nov. 20 -- The number of Chinese people registering for their first marriages plunged to the lowest since 1985 last year, according to the latest official statistics.
Chinese population registering for their first marriages fell for the ninth consecutive year to 10.5 million last year, down 9.2 percent from 2021 and 55.9 percent from the peak in 2013, according to the China Statistical Yearbook 2023 published yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The provincial-level region with the highest population registering their first marriages was Guangdong province with 968,800, followed by Henan, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Shandong provinces, data from the NBS also showed.
The number of young people of marriageable age is decreasing, Dong Yuzheng, a population expert and special researcher at the counselor's office of the Guangdong provincial government, told Yicai. Meanwhile, some Chinese people have been postponing their marriages, some have become less willing to get married, while others have chosen not to get married at all.
The average age at first marriage has significantly increased in the past years. The figure was 28.7 years old in 2020, compared with 24.9 in 2010.
Many young people do not want to get married for various reasons, including the instability of real-life marriage, changes in their views on marriage, as many people no longer regard marriage and childbearing as a must in life, and the rising cost of weddings. Moreover, some people postponed their marriage to this year because of the wave of Covid-19 that hit China at the end of last year.
The declining number of people getting married and the increasing average age at first marriage have also impacted China's birth rate. The country's newborns have been declining for many years after hitting the peak in 1987.
Almost 9.6 million babies were born in China last year, marking the first reading below 10 million since 1950, according to official data. The birth rate was almost 6.8 per thousand, and the number of new births equaled nearly 56 percent of that of 2016.
Editor: Futura Costaglione