Over 80% of Gen Z Wants to Wed, According to Study by Soul App

How do young Chinese view marriage these days? What do they factor in before tying the knot? What’re their fresh takes on wedding and starting a family? Just So Soul, a research arm of Soul App, has recently published a study titled Gen Z’s Attitudes Towards Marriage, which surveyed 1,618 young men and women in China.

The study shows that young singles are more eager than ever for true love, and they pursue it by means of social apps and offline events such as traditional blind dates. Over 90% of the Gen Zers surveyed are open to online romance, and more than 80% yearn to walk down the aisle.

Three keywords paint a picture of what Gen Z thinks about marriage.

1. Nontraditional

Young people’s idea of marriage has become more diverse, more fun and more unconventional. Just So Soul’s recent study suggests that close to one-third of young people desire a destination wedding, while almost 10% ask for none of the intricate, fancy bridal ceremonies, when “a marriage certificate will do”.

This kind of openness manifests itself in the ways younger generations pursue partners. On their love-seeking journey, they make an effort to show up in face-to-face activities and use social apps. Although 9.36% of young people still subscribe to the tradition of parent-arranged blind dating, more than 80% of respondents would be open to an older woman-younger man relationship, while 70% accept long-distance relationships.

Unshaken by parental and cultural pressures, most of Gen Zers will not give up a say about their marriage. Only 18.45% of the surveyed would choose to get married to appease prevailing cultural values, and only 21.72% would marry for the purpose of carrying on the family line. In contrast, 49.29% hope marriage will “take them to the next stage of life where they can realize their potential as husbands or wives”.

2. Eager

The data from Just So Soul shows that more than 80% of Gen Z is eager for marriage and more than 30% of the couples are planning their wedding. When young people were asked about the reason for pairing up, “aspiration”, “baby”, “life”, “journey”, “identity”, and “striving” were the most talked-about words, reflecting their interpretation of marriage: it brings a drive to succeed and celebrates a milestone in their life journeys.

These words could also mark a departure from older generations’ view of marriage, which holds that it is a path that must be taken, but young people see marriage as a rite of passage that promises to redefine who they are and how they live.

Contrary to widely-held perceptions, the younger generation actually care less about material conditions like family background. In seeking their potential spouse, a mere 17.44% of them consider family background, and 10.47% give a careful thought to their partner’s career. Ultimately, however, whether a couple takes the plunge depends on the compatibility of their worldviews, values and personalities.

From dating to marriage, Gen Zers are not used to dragging their feet. 37.65% of young people expect to get married before they are 30. Based on Just So Soul’s study, only 3.2% of them would accept being in a relationship for over 3 years prior to marriage while 90.2% prefer a timescale between one month and three years, and 6.6% want to get married within a month of dating.

3. Realistic

For all the majority look forward to married life, Just So Soul found that 9.32% of young people “prefer living single to wedlock”. More often than not, those with little expectation of marriage don’t have much faith in marriage as an institution, or believe it will consume too much of their time and handicap their career advancement.

Women consider marriage from a more holistic perspective than men. Take childbearing for example: most of the women surveyed wish to give birth in their late 20s. Men are more flexible: 33.64% of them can wait until 35 to have their first child.

Generally, both men and women feel enormous pressure as parents. According to the study, 52.29% of young people are stressed about the outlook of child rearing, chiefly economically; 48.12% worry about their jobs being too fast-paced for them to raise children.

More broadly, the delicate balance between personal and family life younger generations have to strike has generated sweeping public discussion. The anxiety felt by them is not lost on the society. And at the same time, it is increasingly clear that open-minded Gen Z desires and, more importantly, looks beyond the bare essentials of marriage. This generation wants more than pairing up for a financial stable life; it is keen on pursuing shared values and non-material life goals hand in hand with their future partners, which reflects a truer, more universal attitude among young people towards marriage.

At the end of the day, the better Gen Zers know themselves, the better they approach love and marriage. That’s why Soul App, an interest-based social platform, offers them many more possibilities to connect with their peers based on common pursuits without worries about looks or any other external factors, making friendship building purer and more earnest. Here Soul brings happiness to everyone by building the most spiritual home of belonging with its users. Young people can better reshape their identity and find their voice to show their values and inner worlds, and receive heartfelt responses from other like-minded users.

For younger generations, what they crave is more meaningful emotional connections.