Divorces in a populous Chinese area have doubled annually over the past five years — and there’s no slowdown in sight.
Researchers looked at 360 divorce cases over the past year in Beijing’s Chongwen district (pop. 430,000), and found that 25% of divorcees were under the age of 30, and that over 50% of all divorces were for marriages lasting less than three years.
And in a wider look at Beijing itself (pop. 17,000,000), researchers observed that 25,000 couples divorced in 2008, with 33% married less than five years, 4% married less than one year, and 0.2% (or 52) married less than a month.
While these divorce statistics may not seem shocking or even noteworthy when compared to the west, they nevertheless represent significant changes in how Chinese people are viewing divorce; rather than it being an impossible option, it’s increasingly being accepted as viable, expedient and socially acceptable.
One of the factors for increasing divorce is so-called “flash marriages” among younger people, which are quick, seemingly impulsive marriages that take place quickly after couples meet; sometimes days or weeks. Yet the problem is not limited to Generation Y and millennials. “Marriage problems are not limited to any specific group,” commented Li Qilai, a lawyer with 18-years of experience who regularly handles cases for couples in their 40s.