'Generation Gap' is a monthly series where we talk to two Beijingers from two different generations about a random topic. This time we ask Xu, 18 and Zhang, 48 their opinions on the declining marriage rate in China.
A recent study shows that the current marriage rate in China is the lowest it has been in over a decade. What are your thoughts on this drop?
“I think the decrease in marriage rate in China indicates two things. First, I’m guessing that people have greater freedom to choose what to pursue in their lives. The idea of marriage as a milestone in life may be slowly fading, and I think this is a good sign. Societal norms are quite deeply woven into society here, so it’s kind of rare to see this drop in marriage rate happening. I also believe more people are choosing to live a certain sexual orientation freely, in which marriage is not allowed. This may be too liberal of a factor, but I do think it would be one of the contributions to this phenomenon. Overall, I think it is a positive trend and I’m curious to see how the government reacts to it.”
“I guess I can understand people who choose not to get married, both in China and the US as well. I know from some past statistics that divorce rates are increasing in the US. I think it’s because this modern, fast-paced world puts less value on the small enjoyments people get from having a family and going out on a picnic together. The media reports on the great successes of other people which forces everyone to push themselves harder to attain massive successes themselves. A lot of people simply choose to focus on other challenges such as their careers, and decide not to deal with the ups and downs of being in a long-term relationship or marriage.”
[Images via Yuka Hayashi for That’s]