Love isn't the only thing sending couples down the aisle anymore.
A region in eastern China is now offering newlyweds cash "rewards" as long as the bride is aged 25 years or younger, as a way to address a declining national birth rate. Officials in Changshan made the announcement on the county’s official WeChat social media account last week.
Qualified couples can earn up to $1,000 yuan, which is equivalent to about $137, and is intended to boost the country's birth rate. However, reward is restricted to couples who are marrying for the first time.
China's marriage rate and fertility rate, which are both already some of the lowest in the world, are estimated to have dropped to record lows in 2022, state media reported. Officials said this new incentive is meant to promote "age appropriate marriage and childbearing," according to the notice.
China finally abolished its "one-child policy" in 2016 after it held sway for more than 30 years. The country's lawmakers passed an amendment to the policy, and it's plain and simple: "The state advocates that one couple shall be allowed to have two children."
The policy was initially put in place to stave off rapid — and potentially damaging — population growth in the country. Officials were worried there would be too many people with too few resources available to them.
But more than 40 years later, China's population is growing old, and there aren't enough young people to balance the scales.
The United Nations estimates that the number of people over the age of 65 in the country will jump 85% to 243 million by the end of this decade.
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