Sign up for smart news, insights, and analysis on the biggest financial stories of the day.
What’s more romantic than a candle-lit dinner? A candle-lit dinner organized by your local city officials.
Guixi, a city in China with a population of around 640,000 inhabitants, has launched its own dating app with the aim of boosting the marriage rate in the region and, implicitly, the birth rate.
Local Chinese authorities have ramped up their interest in boosting China’s birth rate since the nation’s population was found to have fallen in 2022 for the first time in 62 years. Declining birth rates have long spooked sovereign states, as they portend aging populations with more retirees and a proportionally smaller workforce to pay into state pension pots.
China has tried to clamp down on a tradition it views as partially responsible for young people’s reluctance to get married, where a prospective husband pays a sum to his bride-to-be’s family. In recent years, the prices have shot up:
- One local official told Bloomberg families charge suitors as much as $43,000 as a betrothal gift.
- China has added a raft of other policies to encourage marriage and kids such as promoting marriage leave, increasing subsidies for newborn babies, and making it easier for unmarried couples to register children.
China isn’t the only nation pulling the Tinder card. Japan has also used state-sponsored matchmaking services to combat a now three-decade-long decline in births. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in January the nation was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions.” So, no pressure, kids.
The Wrong Approach? Pronatalist policies are not necessarily a good solution to declining birth rates. Prof. Feinian Chen, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University, told Bloomberg that the increasingly entrenched expectation that women will stay home and raise the children means “the opportunity costs of having more children or having children at all are simply too high.”