In China, an Unusual Tactic to Boost Young Marriage

One region is bestowing cash for brides under 25
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2023 1:55 PM CDT
In China, an Unusual Tactic to Boost Young Marriage
A couple pose for their wedding photos near the Forbidden City in Beijing on Dec. 20, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Officials in one part of China are urging people to get married at a young age, with cash as an incentive. Couples who marry in Zhejiang province's Changshan County when the bride is 25 or younger will receive a $137 cash bonus, the county announced last week, noting the offer applies to first-time marriages only, per NBC News. The county said the offer was to promote "age-appropriate marriage and childbearing." China's population shrank for the first time in 60 years in 2022, something largely attributed to young people not having children. Births were down for a sixth straight year despite various incentives meant to increase the birth rate.

Last year, the number of marriages in China was the lowest since 1986, at 6.8 million, according to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The average age of people in first marriages reached more than 29 for men and almost 28 for women in 2020, per NBC. Young people say high costs, long working hours, and limited child-care options are some of the reasons they aren't having children, or at least not as many as they'd like. But social media users say the cash incentive is negligible and unlikely to spur change. Changshan County announced other incentives intended to boost the birth rate, including subsidies for child care and fertility, per NBC.

That follows similar moves in South Korea, which has the world's lowest birth rate. Since 2022, the country has been offering couples roughly $1,500 for the birth of a child, followed by additional monthly payments until the child reaches the age of 2, per Al Jazeera. "Other benefits include medical costs for pregnant women, infertility treatment, babysitting services, and even dating expenses," the outlet notes. And in Japan, the city of Nagi has been offering a $1,000 bonus on the birth of each child after the second since 2004, per the Los Angeles Times. It seems to have worked. The city had a fertility rate of 2.95 in 2019, compared to the 1.26 national rate. (More China stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.