I just had a conversation with my roommate about this issue. When she was an exchange student at UC Santa Babara, her friend went to three weddings in a week. And the three brides are all fresh college graduates! In China, however, it is extremely rare for people in their early twenties to get married. In the relatively developed cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, getting married after 30 is not uncommon.
I was surprised. Chinese people emphasize family and children, whilst Americans advocate freedom and independence. But the story here seems to be upside down. However, Chinese people are getting married at a much older age than several years ago (a description by China Daily can be found here). Why are Chinese people getting married later nowadays?
Firstly, China is in an economic boom with increasing opportunities for wealth. Getting married earlier means more restrictions in career prospects, and thus many people just choose to put aside their marriage when they’re young.
Secondly, together with the economic prosperity there comes higher living costs, especially in coastal cities. People are under pressure to make enough money before they can afford the marriage. Moreover, a typical Chinese couple are supposed to get their own flat upon marriage. As the housing costs are shooting up, it takes years to save for this big expense.
Thirdly, the government’s long-lasting one-child policy and suggestions for people to have children at older age can be an important contributing factor of this phenomenon. Since most couples can only have one child, there’s no need to hurry at a young age.
Hopefully I can support my arguments here with more concrete data and tabulations later.