The coming together of two families through marriage is a tradition that has always had a very strong place at the center of Chinese society. However, this ancient institution is feeling the pressure from not only the trend toward lower birth rates and higher divorce rates, but also the increasing number of youth who just simply choose to eschew marriage altogether in favor of living with one another.
How will societal trends on marriage, children, and the elderly have a far reaching impact?
Shacking up, The Economist
What was once taboo, living together before marriage is now happening in China at rates similar to those in the United States.
Marriage Falls in China, Transforming Finances and Families, New York Times
Without strong social safety nets, single Chinese find it difficult to care for their elderly parents. Moreover, single people generally buy fewer houses and other big ticket items.
Licence to split: China’s ‘mistress hunters’ on mission to save marriages, South China Morning Post
In an effort to avoid divorce, the industry of “mistress hunters,” those tasked with persuading mistresses to leave the married men, has popped up. Mr. Wang runs a company in Beijing specializing in this area and has over 300 “hunters” and over 59 offices around the county.
The Brangelina Divorce Just Broke the Chinese Internet, Foreign Policy
A mixture of emotions erupted on Chinese social media after it was announced that famous Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are going to divorce. Thousands of comments appeared almost immediately on Weibo with different camps arguing against the marriage as well as the virtues of the couple and marriage in general.
In general, there is a lot of traction on the topic in social media recently. In a poll of 20,000 users on Weibo, 40% said they would marry for love, 7% because of family pressure, and 6% because they were afraid to be alone.
China is disrupting global fintech, TechCruch
Side impact of the growing numbers of young Chinese who are unmarried has also seen the rise of new financial innovations to cater to their unique needs, especially when the big institutions do not want to be seen by the government as outwardly promoting “singledom.”