Heavy work pressure, fewer opportunities to socialize, and high cost of living are the common woes of Chinese singles under 35.
Labeled as "leftovers," they suffer a chronic headache, namely the pressure to get married. Statistics show there are over 200 million unmarried people in China, or about 15% of the total population. That equals the population of the UK and Russia combined.
According to Chinese law, men have to be at least 22 to marry and women 20. But in reality, Chinese are getting married older and older. For instance, in 1980, the average first marriage age in Chinese cities was 24.6. But in 2010, it rose to 26 , with the trend continuing towards older marriages.
An important reason for the single status of urban youth is that they are so busy at work that they have no time to start a relationship. According to a survey, half of young singles work over 8 hours a day and 19.63 percent work more than 10 hours a day.
A small circle of friends and few socializing opportunities contribute to their singlehood. As a result, TV dating shows and websites have become popular.
The most important reason is the heavy economic pressure. The cost of getting married today is also much higher than it was 30 years ago.
Some scholars believe that marriage is a form of economic alliance in which the couple's post-marriage gains surpass the sum of their separate pre-marriage gains. This theory may apply to our parents' generation, when marriage was the majority option.
However, today's fast-changing society has changed young people's minds while adding pressure.
One advantage, however, is that the growing number of singles boosts the "singles economy" as they are willing to pay for conveniences and to spend money on hobbies and to ensure a better future. Today young singles are even viewed as an important pointer to the future consumerism trend in China.
From a global perspective, being single is not rare or strange.
According to a report, 45 percent of Americans, 32.4 of Japanese and 23.9 of South Koreans are all single. In China, the figure is only 15 percent, relatively low when compared with more developed countries. However, the number of Chinese singles will probably continue to rise and reach 400 million as economic growth expands.
Single or not, intentionally or not, it's just a lifestyle.