China’s marriage rate plummets 8.2% in early 2024

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18th June 2024 – (Beijing) China’s marriage rate has experienced a significant drop of 8.2% in the first quarter of 2024, compared to the same period last year, according to data from China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs. This downturn, from 2.147 million new marriages in early 2023 to just 1.969 million in the corresponding months of 2024, highlights an emerging demographic challenge for the world’s second-largest economy.

This decline is part of a broader trend that includes falling birth rates and an increasing number of retirees, which collectively threaten to reduce the size of China’s future workforce. The trend could have profound implications for an economy reliant on a robust manufacturing sector, according to Gary Ng, a senior economist at Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank.

The reduced marriage rates are expected to lead to fewer childbirths, exacerbating workforce shortages and contributing to a demographic shift towards an older population. This shift is placing additional pressure on state pension funds, which are predicted to face shortages by 2035.

Demographic experts attribute the decline in marriage and birth rates to several factors, including a societal shift in attitudes towards marriage and parenting, financial concerns related to child-rearing, and a significant gender imbalance. The Chinese government has attempted to counteract these trends by removing limits on the number of children per couple and implementing policies to encourage higher birth rates, but these measures have yet to yield significant results.