Coping with the phenomenon
As Prof. Du pointed out, late marriage or singledom are byproducts of China's opening-up and advancements, so it should be viewed with more tolerance. However, in the long run, they do risk incurring negative impacts.
"Late marriage and singledom will further decrease the fertility rate, hence aggravating the aging problem. What's more, the weakening of family bonds might lead to weakened awareness about the nursing of seniors within the family, which will possibly cause social instability."
A plan issued by the Chinese State Council in 2017 predicted that a quarter of the population would be 60 years old or over by 2030.
Prof. Du emphasized that while being understanding of the phenomenon, the government should also adjust its public policies to better cope with it.
He suggested measures including providing more incentives for people to have a second child, implementing more preferential policies towards tax payers so individuals have a stronger sense of security, and reinforcing young people's rights to paid holidays and annual leave through legal means to guarantee their time to be able to engage with their communities.
The population studies expert added that in the future, as Chinese culture and traditions evolve, it is very likely that de facto marriages and having children while being unmarried will become more acceptable.
Ultimately, it is a personal choice whether or not to get married, but it doesn't negate the fact that there are still many people who are enjoying the beauty of marriage.
As Zhang Jing, a 35-year-old mother and lawyer with a four-year-old daughter said: "To marry a person you love means a sweet relationship being extended to a steady future. Two independent persons 'nest' a family, design and develop it – by raising their children, supporting the elderly, sharing happiness and jointly overcoming difficulties."