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More Urban Women Choose Single Life

Chinese traditional culture considered marriage and motherhood the only real options for women, but today those are only two of the many choices available.

Miss Wei, 37, is still living on her own in Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning Province. A graduate of a prestigious university, Wei opened her own company several years ago. Listing "driving, travel, and buying brand-name clothes" as hobbies, Wei said she is "very satisfied" with single life. She is not celibate, but doesn't want to compromise her situation by getting married.

In China, more women like Wei are choosing to be single. In 1990 Beijing had only 200,000 unmarried women but today the number in Beijing and Shanghai, the two largest cities in the country, tops 1 million.

The latest statistics from the All-China Women's Federation show that in the past five years registered marriages have decreased annually, dropping by 1 million between 1998 and 2002. Meanwhile, 1.2 million couples divorce every year, leaving many single mothers.

In addition to choosing to be single, more women are delaying marriage and motherhood or choosing not to have children at all.

Horizon Survey and Index Network recently surveyed 1,031 residents aged 18 to 60 in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Wuhan cities. The results show that compared to 1997, 11.3 per cent fewer respondents chose to have just one child, while 1.1 per cent more people chose not to have children and 3.9 per cent more preferred to remain single.

(Xinhua News Agency   September  8, 2003)

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