(Economist) Women are rejecting marriage in Asia;The social implications are serious

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...marriage is changing fast in East, South-East and South Asia, even though each region has different traditions. The changes are different from those that took place in the West in the second half of the 20th century. Divorce, though rising in some countries, remains comparatively rare. What’s happening in Asia is a flight from marriage (see article).

Marriage rates are falling partly because people are postponing getting hitched. Marriage ages have risen all over the world, but the increase is particularly marked in Asia. People there now marry even later than they do in the West. The mean age of marriage in the richest places—Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong—has risen sharply in the past few decades, to reach 29-30 for women and 31-33 for men.

A lot of Asians are not marrying later. They are not marrying at all. Almost a third of Japanese women in their early 30s are unmarried; probably half of those will always be. Over one-fifth of Taiwanese women in their late 30s are single; most will never marry. In some places, rates of non-marriage are especially striking: in Bangkok, 20% of 40-44-year old women are not married; in Tokyo, 21%; among university graduates of that age in Singapore, 27%. So far, the trend has not affected Asia’s two giants, China and India. But it is likely to....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyWomen* International News & CommentaryAsia

5 Comments
Posted September 13, 2011 at 5:38 am

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1. Teatime2 wrote:

Um, marriage should ALWAYS have been considered a choice—not a given or an expectation. Surely not an institution that women were thrust into because they weren’t considered capable of living on their own! Yes, yes, I know this must be a huge bummer for the men who love to contemplate the particular joys of having a subservient Asian wife but the lads need to grow up and man up. When I read the litany of expectations they have for Japanese wives, I wonder why it took the ladies so long to say, “No thanks!”

So, you go, girls! Make your own lives and decisions! Too bad for the politicians and economists who expect you to simply comply with their norms. In regard to Christian norms and examples, it appears that more of an independent St. Mary Magdalene model is emerging to take her place next to the BVM model. It’s about time!

September 13, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
2. Catholic Mom wrote:

Historically and pretty much right up until very recently in the west marriage has been first and foremost a contractual quid pro quo between two people.  If society and economic conditions change such that either of the parties can get a better “quid” elsewhere, then the contract is going to fall into disuse until/unless the other party comes up with a better deal.  This is a perfectly normal and understandable phenomenon and can be expected to right itself eventually.

September 13, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
3. David Keller wrote:

#1 “Subservient Asian wife”.  You say that like its a bad thing.
(Please note tongue in cheek)

September 13, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
4. Teatime2 wrote:

LOL, David Keller. Well noted! The Beatles sure learned the realities of that myth, eh? wink

CM, The problem is that the quality of the available parties has been continuously slipping to the point where it’s not worth the potential long-term investment.

September 13, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
5. Catholic Mom wrote:

Absolutely, but if nobody will buy your bonds you have to keep increasing the interest paid until somebody is willing to buy.  That’s why junk bonds have big coupons.  Or else you have to scale back the projects you can’t fund via bonds.  Translation:  Asian men have to accept the fact that they’re going to be mateless or they have to make marriage to them more attractive to the buyers.  They will eventually do the latter for the simple reason that those who do the former will be quickly selected out of the population.

September 13, 6:07 pm | [comment link]


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