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Daily Drip

Marriage? Babies? China’s Gen Z Cares More About Love

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We all want to be loved and cared for. Especially, it seems, China’s Generation Z.

A new study released by China’s Tinder-like app Tantan and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences offers insight into the romantic inclinations of the country’s younger dating pool.

More than 70% of men and almost 45% of women said they wanted to find a partner as soon as possible. For women, “being with the right person” ranked as the number one selection criteria. Though men also cared about finding “the one,” they also seemed more focused on marriage — 30% of men rated marriage as their top reason for being in a relationship, compared to only 18.8% of women.

More than 30% of men rated marriage as their top reason for being in a relationship, compared to only 18.8% of women (image: Tantan)

Love is also the big driver in these groups when it comes to having kids, the study shows. More than half of participants across all genders responded that “only my love would make me want to have kids.”

So who’s going to take care of the baby? China’s new generation seems more progressive on this, and most agree that parents should share the responsibility. Men are more open to the idea of having a full-time parent in the family, either themselves or their partners; but a new generation of career-minded women challenges the idea — only 5% of them responded positively.

Men are more open to the idea of having a full-time parent in the family, while only 5% of women support it (image: Tantan)

Clearly, economic independence has been on women’s minds, and nearly half of those surveyed strongly believed that women should own property prior to marriage.

With the social status of women gradually improving, young people are more flexible on taking up the role of family breadwinner. Traditional norms still play their part, though — almost half of the Gen Z respondents said they’d prefer the husband to be the primary source of income.

Related:

Why China’s Millennials Are at War with Marriage and Having Babies

China is facing a declining marriage rate. As Chinese sociologist and sexologist Li Yinhe explained in a recent TV interview, Gen Z’s belief in true love and economic independence may help explain those statistics.

“Love has played a bigger and bigger role in marriage, and as feelings change, marriage is no longer the only answer for young people,” Li said. “Women can now earn money and support themselves, so they don’t have to get married […] and sex and marriage are not just for childbirth, so young people can choose to stay together or not more freely.”

Related:

Not So Fast: Can a Mandatory Pre-Marriage “Cooling-Off Period” Decrease the Divorce Rate?

As the younger generation seeks independence and shies away from marriage, officials are introducing measures they hope will encourage couples to tie the knot and start families — but the controversy they’ve generated is just another indication that conversations around love and marriage are far from over for China’s youth.

Cover photo: Mayur Gala on Unsplash

Lu Zhao
Lu Zhao is a bilingual and multimedia journalist with a focus on human interest and social issues. Her work has appeared in USA Today, UPI, SupChina, Pandaily, Chicago Reporter, and other publications.
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