The Chinese divorce rate shot up 18.2% last year, the Guardian reports. It's not a huge surprise: Simplified divorce proceedings have contributed to the long-term trend, and the social stigma appears to have dwindled considerably. Some sociologists have an additional theory: China's one-child policy has created a generation of spoiled kids who are unable to sustain relationships as adults.
About 1.4 million Chinese couples divorced in 2007, quadruple the 1980 total. Women's growing financial independence makes it easier for them not to settle, says a Women’s Studies Institute of China researcher. Although they aren’t “losing faith in marriage—they are looking for marriages of higher quality," she said. The number of marriages, by the way, increased by 12% in 2007.