Fewer people are getting married nowadays, while those who do are doing so at an older age, figures from last year released by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) showed.
“A total of 116,392 couples registered their marriages last year — 32,033, or 21.6 percent, less than in 2008,” the ministry said in a press statement. “The sharp decrease was due to the global economic recession and the impact of guluan nian [孤鸞年] last year.”
Traditionally, people believe that couples married during guluan nian — or “the year of the widow” — will have an unhappy marriage.
The MOI said last year marked the first time in 40 years that less than 200,000 people got married.
Besides the decrease in the number of people who were married last year, the ministry also found that grooms and brides were getting older.
“The average age of first-time grooms last year was 31.6 and 28.9 for first-time brides — half a year older than in 2008 for both groups,” the statement said.
While the half-year difference may not seem very significant, the ministry said that as many as 36.94 percent, or 35,280, of all first-time grooms last year were between the age of 30 and 34, with the 25 to 29 age group following with 35.48 percent of all first-time grooms.
Almost 44 percent, or 43,275, of first-time brides were aged between 25 and 29 last year, the ministry said.
By city and region, people in Taipei seemed to be marrying older, with the average age of first-time grooms at 35.7 and 32 years for first-time brides.
Commenting on the figures, Modern Women’s Foundation executive director Yao Shu-wen (姚淑文) said that while the “year of the widow” belief may have played a role in the drop in marriages last year, social change, economic pressure and high divorce rates all played a more important role.
“With high divorce rates, a lot of people are afraid of getting married,” Yao said. “Besides, people may worry about the economic burden they have to carry when they have a family of their own.”
“Especially when people are becoming more economically independent, they may be more hesitant to get married,” she said.
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