Marriage, schmarriage. The divorce rate in mainland China has risen by almost 13 percent, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said, with nearly 3.5 million couples filing for divorce last year. This would be the eighth year in a row China has seen escalating divorce rates, according to previous studies.
The latest affirmation that lasting romance is but a Hallmark card gimmick was posted in the ministry’s 2013 Social Service Bulletin on Tuesday. Of the 3.5 million couples who were handed legal documents to end their marriages, around 2.8 million applied for divorce in civil affairs departments while the remainder took their divorces to court, SCMP relays.
Sexologist Li Yinhe said that based on the number of couples who got married and divorced last year, the mainland’s marriage dissolution rate was as high as 27 per cent. It was only about 2 per cent in the 1970s and 14 per cent in the ’90s, she said.
The rate of divorce refers to the number of divorces occurring among the whole population, while the marriage dissolution rate refers to the number of divorces occuring among married people.
“Research shows that divorce rates rise with modernisation. What happened in China is a good example,” she said.
Li points out that China’s divorce rate is still lower than a number other countries, including the US, where 50 percent of marriages end in a divorce.
She adds, however, that people living in rural areas are less likely to get a divorce because it’s often seen as a scandal. So in other words, more people in China still want a divorce but choose to stay in a broken-down marriage out of social pressure (which is when this happens).
The same bulletin revealed that 13.5 million couples tied the knot last year. Here’s to hoping they don’t fall into the ministry’s doomed list by this time next year.