A Few Reasons Marriage Rates are Falling Worldwide

Photo by Nghia Trinh from Pexels

As a lifelong bachelor who’s never had more than a passing interest in getting married, sometimes I like to take a moment to examine the institution from an outsider’s perspective.

It’s not that I don’t like or trust the concept of marriage. I’m not some cynical, jaded, red pill doomer/MGTOW misanthrope. Having seen my share of “manosphere” content on YouTube, my overall assessment is it’s like most gangsta rap. Hilarious subverse, fun to listen to, but not exactly meaningful or useful for leading a productive life. Most of the so-called “unplugged” red pillers are really nothing more than just unlikable a-holes with too much money and/or time on their hands.

Yet, many of them do make very valid points in their suspicions toward the institution of marriage. It’s a coin flip. A 50% chance you might lose half your possessions (or more) in a divorce. Who wants to take 50/50 odds their parachute won’t open after they jump out of a plane? You’ve heard all the analogies and seen all the statistics before, I’m sure.

On principle, marriage is a good idea. If it represents a genuine committment and a good faith promise from parties not to screw each other over in the event of a separation. Looked at from a financial and tax perspective, there are many benefits. Given how many Millennials (who are now in the thick of their getting hitched years given their age group) are supposedly broke/unemployed/in debt/under employed/not fulfilling their economic potential, it would seem getting married makes all kinds of sense financially. Two people to share onerous rent or mortgage payments, furniture costs, Netflix subscription fees, etc. Yet, marriage rates globally continue to decline.

So, why is this? The South China Morning Post lists three reasons. The first of which is:

Independent demographer He Yafu said young Chinese women were changing their view of marriage and parenting.

“As their education and economic independence levels increase, the percentage of women who are single is increasing,” He said.

Women becoming more independent and self-sufficient as a cause for declining marriage rates is not unique to China, of course. In all my searches, I found that to be a common theme. It’s certainly a cause here in the West, in the U.S. and Canada, and elsewhere. It’s here that a red piller might posit that feminism will “destroy civilization,” as it reduces women’s interest in having committed relationships during their peak fertile windows, leading to fewer births, leading to governments having to allow for laxxer immigration policies to prop up the tax base, leading to the dissolution of unified national identity, leading to globalization, and ultimately leadings to pods, bugs, fake meat, and mandatory soy injections in the dick, or something.

By the way, if all that does happen, I’ll be happy to admit I was wrong to doubt the red pillers and for not buying a MGTOW coaching session for $20 a minute so I can be told what a loser I am for not being a millionaire supermodel pussy slayer by age 25.

Going back to China, marriage rates have dropped to their lowest rate since 1986, when statistics first started being recorded. Naturally, China’s infamous one-child policy, which favored males, gets part of the blame. And rightly so. Now China has a demographic time bomb going off with excess men, and not enough women to go around as wives. Imagine a whole nation of incels. Actually, you don’t have to. That’s pretty much everywhere now.

However, while China’s lopsided male/female ratio may be unique on the national scale, it’s not necessarily so at the local level, depending on where you live. I currently live in Western North Dakota, having moved here for the oil boom many years back. It’s not as bad now, but certainly back during the heyday of the boom, there were far greater numbers of men than women. And what few women there were, were often already attached, had children, or were not exactly in the dating pool. Western North Dakota is the place where relationships go to die, I like to joke with friends and family. Strangely, it is also the place where your bank account and networth go to live. Can’t have it all, I guess.

That South China Morning Post article also blames the COVID-19 pandemic, as it forced so many young, potentially marriageable people indoors, where they couldn’t have gone on a coffee date even if they had wanted to.

I think if anything the pandemic acted an accelerant on an already growing societal trend, though it doesn’t really get at a big underlying cause: technology. Social media, in particular, which has a way of dehumanizing people. Even good people. This is true whether we’re talking Twitter, Facebook, or popular dating apps like PlentyofTrash and OkStupid. Most dating apps create a sort of digital China experience, in which the men vastly outnumber the women. Women are often inundated with messages from thirsty dudes, while most dudes are left shooting their shot into the void with not much to show for it. That’s not to say dating apps are pointless. I’ve had some anecdotal success with them, even while living on Mars, as I do, and not being some chiseled Adonis. However, I’ve found far more success when I actually go out, and put myself in the right social situations, as I’m sure most people have also experienced. I’d never want to rely solely on dating apps ever, though. That’d be like having to rely on Burger King for every meal.

So, China blames women becoming more independent and delaying marriage, or putting it off altogether, the nation’s disastrous one-child policy that led to too many boys, and COVID-19. I think you also see these reasons playing out in the West, but sometimes in a more localized way. For instance, even in big cities, where the male/female ratio is more balanced, either sex will still complain about a lack of suitable mates. Women may complain that there are too few high status guys who match their income or higher. While many guys who don’t feel they can compete in the dating market anyway (or just don’t want the hassle, period) may simply opt out in favor of video games, movies, or internet porn.

Overall, the falling marriage rate is an alarming trend. But I think it says more about how people today are failing to connect with one another in a meaningful way rather than anything about the failure of the institution itself. Marriage has been around for thousand sof years, afterall, and will continue into the future.

But hey, maybe we’ll all have better luck in the Metaverse. 🙂

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