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Abstract

This paper presents a comprehensive analysis and comparison of the existing literature on the phenomenon of non-marriage or staying unmarried in Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, as well as European and American countries such as Spain and the US, and explores the trends, characteristics as well as reasons behind such a phenomenon. Through analysis, the present study found that there is a growing trend of postponed marriage and parenthood as well as an increasing proportion of individuals who exhibit no enthusiasm towards matrimony or parenthood in the aforementioned countries. To some extent, non-marriage or postponed marriage has become a prevalent trend in developed countries and even some developing countries. Japan, South Korea, and several developed countries in Europe and America have exhibited this phenomenon since the middle to late 20th century, with a relatively long history. The emergence of this phenomenon in China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and other developing countries in Asia, however, was relatively late, exhibiting a gradual development process. The current marriage landscape in China is characterized by a growing number of non-marriage individuals and a significant level of marital stability. In terms of reasons for staying unmarried, the marriage rates in the aforementioned countries can be attributed to various factors at macro, meso, and micro levels. In China, the phenomenon of non-marriage is closely associated with a range of factors, including diverse values and attitudes towards romance and marriage, marriage squeeze, education expansion, and the rise in females’ economic and social status. The emphasis in future research should be placed on predicting the phenomenon of non-marriage, with a specific focus on exploring the reasons for advocating non-marriage, examining the internal mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, analyzing the consequences of non-marriage, and proposing corresponding countermeasures while establishing the public identity towards marriage.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.19873/j.cnki.2096-0212.2023.05.005

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