More Chinese couples cohabit before marrying: Survey

PHOTO: Reuters

Young married couples in China are more likely to have moved in together before marriage than their predecessors, a recent survey showed.

The survey was of happily married Chinese families, released by the China Association of Marriage and Family and Zhenai.com, a matchmaking website, on Thursday.

The survey collected 10,157 effective responses from couples who claimed they are happily married in 2015 in 10 cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

The survey showed that 13.7 per cent of respondents who were born in the 1960s moved in together before marriage. The number has increased to 44.4 per cent among the ones born in 1970s and continues to surge to 59.6 per cent among the younger generation born in the 1980s.

Among the post-1985 generation, 57.8 per cent of respondents cohabited with their live-in partners before marriage.

"Premarital cohabitation has become more commonly accepted among the younger generation, which is a trend with the society's development," said Tong Xin, professor of sociology at Peking University.

"Regarding women's rights, premarital cohabitation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a necessary way to understand the live-in partner before marriage. On the other hand, in a male-dominated society, it may hurt women if the relationship breaks down," Tong said, adding that if women and men are treated equally, premarital cohabitation wouldn't even be a problem.

Li Song, chief executive officer of Zhenai.com, echoed the sentiment, saying that he has also noticed the trend to move in together before marriage.

"It echoes the rise of women's power in China, showing women's independence," Li said.

He also said government departments should pay more attention to the rights of women and children under this trend.

"For example, policies should take the rights of illegitimate children into consideration," Li added.

Besides revealing happily married couples' characteristics, the survey also included some advice to keep relationships happy, such as increasing communication and being tolerant.

The survey aims to provide a guideline to all people to improve their relationships, said Tan Lin, president of the China Association of Marriage and Family.

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