News Brief

Decreasing Marriage Rate In China Raises Concern Over Fewer Childbirths Amid Increasing Retiree Population

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 30, 2024, 12:16 PM | Updated 12:15 PM IST

Chinese couple
Chinese couple

The marriage rate in China witnessed a year-on-year fall of 8.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2024. This creates a challenge for the world’s second-largest economy to maintain its workforce.

A total of 1.969 million new marriages were registered from January to March this year in China, down from 2.147 million registrations in the same period last year.

Already China is facing declining birth rates and a falling population while the number of retirees is increasing. Fewer marriages means that fewer children will be born.

This is problematic for China because its economy largely depends on manufacturing, which needs a substantial number of people being part pf the workforce.

China witnessed an increase of 12 per cent in registered marriages in 2023 from 2022. However, that was majorly because of lockdowns due to Covid-19 pandemic in 2022.

Gary Ng, a senior economist at Natixis Corporate and Investment Bank, called the gradual decline "unavaoidable" as attitude of Chinese youth towards marriage has changed.

Moreover, costs linked to raising children is creating further reluctance to marriage. Simultaneously, divorce rates have also increased in China, as per South China Morning Post.

"The general consensus among economists is that if the age imbalance goes haywire, that’s something you worry about," Asian studies professor James Chin expressed concern over future of China's workforce.

The burden of pension is also piling up. Major state pension fund is also expected to run out of money by 2035 due to the growing number of retirees.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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