Changing Trends in Marriage: Our Asian Counterparts in the East.

Article: The Economist: The Flight from Marriage

 

Interesting read about Asians and marriage. Nowadays, the Western trend is for women to pursue their careers and marry later. However, can we say the same for our counterparts in the East? Marriage and family life still dominate society there. In South Asia, arranged marriages are still the common form of starting families and creating legacies. In China and South Asia 98% of the population marries. Marriage is still norm there. In contrast, Western countries have huge populations of unmarried and cohabiting people. Another interesting tidbit from the article:

Marriage continues to be the almost universal setting for child-bearing in Asia: only about 2% of births took place outside wedlock in Japan in 2007. Contrast that with Europe: in Sweden in 2008 55% of births were to unmarried women, while in Iceland the share was 66%.

Can you believe the overwhelming disparity in that?! I was shocked! Could it be though, with rapid modernization of the East that populations will follow in our Western footsteps? Studies have shown that there is a trend towards increase divorce rates and marriage age in Eastern countries like China. South Korea divorce rates already match those of its Western counterparts. What are some reasons for this? Same as the West. Women are getting more education and choosing to pursue careers. It might be intimidating for men who do not match their caliber. However, responsibilities of marriage are great and the mentality for some women is that, having a career allows them to independently sustain a good quality of life. Why jump into marriage? More women are living on their own and marriage is taking a back seat. Is there reason to worry about this noticeable trend? Here are a few problems the article states:

Social attitudes in Asia change slowly, and many people think it wrong to remain unmarried. “Parasite singles” is the unflattering term in Japan. The reluctance to marry seems to have unleashed spiteful hostility, an attitude that makes the decision not to wed a tough one.

Contraception is a particular problem. Several Asian countries restrict state-provided family planning to married couples. A few even demand to see the wedding certificate before dispensing condoms (that has happened in Europe, too). This is not a sensible policy when so many men and women will remain unmarried throughout their 20s and 30s.

However, choosing to marry later or not marry at all is not a ridiculous notion. It's better to marry on your own accord than to unwillingly do it and be unhappy for life. In addition, the strides that women have made throughout the years is nothing short of extraordinary. Women in the East now have almost equal the literacy rates of men and in South Korea, they earn half of all Master degrees.  These accomplishments are commendable and will hopefully continue in an upward trend.

The article really is chock full of  interesting facts and details and if this is a topic of interest to you I recommend you check it out for more information! Here it is again just in case! http://www.economist.com/node/21526329