China moves to save declining population, relaxes marriage registration rules for citizens

The Chinese government has announced a new rule that allows migrant workers to register their marriages in their cities of residence instead of having to travel back to their hometowns to register.

Having received approval from China’s cabinet, the State Council, the new regulation will allow residents from over 21 provinces and municipalities, largely in eastern and central China, to register their marriages where they reside instead of traveling back to their hometowns to register — an activity/system known as ‘hukou’.

According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, there were 376 million migrants in China in the year 2020, and more than 120 million of them traveled across provinces for work.

While the hukou system ensured that all citizens had access to public services such as education and healthcare, the main aim of the new regulation is to ease the burden and stress of traveling back home to register marriages, which is primarily faced by migrant workers.

Also, China is currently experiencing a drop in marriage and childbirth rates as well as a spike in its aging population, and it is expected that this policy will salvage the impending demographic crisis.

Some members of the Chinese public praised the new regulation and the ease of marriage registration it will bring. Some others, however, were skeptical about the regulation’s ability to increase the marriage rate.

A comment on China’s national social media platform, Sina Weibo, asked, “Do you think people don’t get married because it’s not convenient to register?”.

For the first time in six decades, China is experiencing a decline in population, with the national birth rate reaching a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 people in 2022. In comparison, the birth rate in the USA during the same period was 12 births per 1,000 people.

To save the situation, the Chinese government has recently implemented several measures to encourage marriage and childbirth, including relaxing its long-time one-child policy, increasing healthcare and pay for pregnant women and nursing mothers, and providing financial and educational support and incentives to families with more than two children.

The government is also taking steps to address the issue of expensive dowries and bride prices in rural areas, which can reach up to 1 million yuan (US$142,000).

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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