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February 28, 2013

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Locals wait longer to get married

Shanghainese were marrying slightly later last year compared to 2011, a report by the city's civil affairs authorities said.

The age for first marriage rose to 27.3 years for women and 30 years for men, up 0.15 and 0.74 years, respectively, from 2011, according to a report by the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau yesterday.

Local women, particularly those with a successful career, seem to have difficulty in finding "Mr Right" due to high expectations, which delayed their marriage age, said Lin Kewu, deputy director of the bureau's marriage administration.

Meanwhile, men generally only marry once they have met certain criteria such as owning an apartment and a car, which are often considered a prerequisite for marriage, Lin said.

Tony Liu, a 32-year-old salesperson who got married last year, said it took about seven months for him and his wife to search for an affordable apartment that satisfied them both.

"My wife and her parents insisted on an apartment before marriage, not a rented one or one we share with my parents," he said.

The report showed divorces increased 13.16 percent last year, the largest jump in recent years.

According to the report, divorces among people born after 1980 is rising. Some 20,367 people less than 30 years old divorced in the city last year.

Incompatibility, financial difficulties, extramarital love affairs, family disputes, sex and differences in opinion about children's education were blamed for divorces, according to the report.

The report showed some 8,068 couples who divorced got remarried last year, up 22.8 percent from a year earlier.

Some couples divorce to purchase one more apartment due to housing purchase restrictions and then remarry later. This phenomenon pushed up remarriages, experts said.

But this is risky, as some men tricked their spouse by using this as an excuse because they have a mistress and truly want a divorce, said He Zhanbiao, director of the bureau's marriage administration.

Some youngsters don't take marriage very seriously and remarry after divorcing, which is also part of the reason, according to experts.

The city registered 2,195 cross-border marriages last year. Shanghai people married people from 71 countries and regions, down 1.35 percent from 2011.

"Inter-provincial" marriages dropped 4.1 percent last year to about 50,000.


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