Marriages in China dropped to a historic low in 2022, amid a declining birth rate and a falling population, CNN reported. According to data released by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, about 6.8 million couples registered marriages in 2022, down 10.5% from 2021 when 7.63 million marriage registrations were made. This is the lowest number since 1986 when available government data begins.
The drop in couples tying the knot, which follows pandemic restrictions keeping tens of millions locked in their homes or compounds for weeks last year, comes as authorities deal with a declining birth rate and a falling population.
China’s birth rate fell last year to 6.77 births per 1,000 people, the lowest on record, from 7.52 in 2021. Meanwhile, the country’s death rate, the highest since 1974, was 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people.
The country’s population also shrank in 2022 for the first time in more than 60 years, weighed down by rising living costs, especially in big, sprawling cities like Beijing, weak economic growth, and changing attitudes towards raising a family. The decline in the number of younger people is partially a result of China’s one-child policy, which lasted from the 1980s to 2016.
The rigid one-child policy is touted to be the root of many of the demographic challenges that have allowed India to become the world’s most populous nation. The limit has since been raised to three children.
Officials have also been trying to find ways to boost the nation’s birth rate and have even urged authorities to ramp up the introduction of policies to promote fertility.
Last month, the country said that it will launch pilot projects in more than 20 cities to create a “new-era” marriage and childbearing culture to foster a friendly child-bearing environment.
Concerned about China’s first population drop in six decades and its rapid aging, the government’s political advisers proposed in March that single and unmarried women should have access to egg freezing and IVF treatment, among other services to boost the country’s fertility rate.
A few months back, it was also reported that Chinese sperm banks are appealing to college students and healthy men to donate sperm after the country registered a negative population growth.
Some provinces in the country are also giving young newlyweds an extension of paid marriage leave.