Summary of Is It True that All Women in China Get Married?

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Is It True that All Women in China Get Married? summary
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In China, like in many Asian countries, less than 5% of the female population traditionally remained unmarried at age 50. How much of this has changed? Qian Yue, a sociologist and associate professor at the University of British Columbia, shared her research on marriage patterns in China at the 2018 Yixi conference (an event comparable to TEDGlobal) and revealed some surprising figures. She explains how Chinese women and men can better navigate marriage life as the institution of marriage evolves alongside China’s social and economic progress. getAbstract recommends Qian’s talk to anyone interested in social change in China as well as to those confused by modern romance and family life.

About the Author

Qian Yue is an assistant sociology professor at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on the gender-gap reversal in marriage patterns as it pertains to education.



If you’re of marriageable age, you may have exclaimed, “Why do I have to get married?” – to which your parents and relatives replied, “Because everybody gets married.” But how true is that statement today? If you compare the percentage of 30- to 34-year-old unmarried women in 1970 with that of 2010, you’ll notice that a lot has changed in East Asian countries and regions. In Taiwan, for example, that number has increased from to 40% from just 2%. In varying degrees, you can observe the same trend in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. In Indonesia and India, though, the percentage continues to be below 5%. 

Surprisingly, China landed only slightly above the 5% mark in 2010, up from 1% in 1970. So what your relatives say is somewhat true: Most Chinese women do get married. Keep in mind though that this statistic encompasses the entirety of China – urban and rural. Take only the first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen), and you’ll see a different story. In 2010, 12% of 30- to 34-year-old women – and 17% of men of that age – were unmarried. That’s considerably higher than the national average...

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