Why the marriage market in rural China need more than just incentives

China’s marriage rate is falling, therefore several villages have started offering rewards to matchmakers in an effort to help young rural males who are having trouble finding mates. Experts and the media contend, however, that more underlying problems influencing marital difficulties are economic underdevelopment and demographic imbalances. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of newlywed couples in China reached a peak in 2013, with 9.9 couples for every 1,000 individuals. Since then, the rate has consistently decreased, hitting 4.8 in 2022.

 

Three Guangdong villages, namely Tiedong village in Heyuan, Qingfu village in Maoming, and Lingtou village in Zhanjiang, recently declared that their village committees would pay matchmakers a fee ranging from 600 yuan to 1,000 yuan ($84 to $139) for each successful match that results in a marriage. Previous to these programs, comparable initiatives were implemented in other Shaanxi and Henan province regions. Since the start of this year, matchmakers in Baoji’s Xiangjiazhuang hamlet in Shaanxi have received 1,000 yuan for every marriage that succeeds.

 

A professional matchmaking service team was founded in Langao county, Shaanxi, last year. They also provide an incentive of 1,000 yuan for each successful match. One of the team’s matchmakers, Hu Yizhen, stated, “I was given an official matchmaker certificate by the county. One of the most well-liked short video platforms in China is Douyin, where I like to create and share videos. Some even said they would come to me if they couldn’t find a marriage. The village of Qiaozhuang in Wuzhi, Henan, established a matchmaking team last year as well. A award of 20,000 yuan was given by the community to matchmakers every year. Experts and local media sources have questioned the efficacy of such matchmaking reward programs.

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