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Divorce Rate Far below 35%: Official
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2012-2-16-
Title: Divorce Rate Far below 35%: Official
Release Date: Feb.15, 2012
Keyword: divorce, official, Shanghai

Shanghai authorities Tuesday denied that the city's divorce rate hit 35 percent last year, while experts predicted that the figure would further climb as more couples decide they want a way out of their failed marriage.

Shanghai's civil affairs bureau clarified the alarmingly high figure reported by local media Tuesday on Valentine's Day, when flower sales surged and some 2,800 couples in the city tied the knot on the most commercially romantic day of the year.

Last year, some 38,850 people divorced, according to Zhou Jixiang, head of the bureau's marriage department.

"Based on an international calculation method that counts the number of married couples who agree to divorce against that of the city's total population, the divorce rate rested at three to four divorces for every 1,000 couples," he told the Global Times Tuesday.

"True, that number doesn't yet include those couples who divorced with help from the courts last year, but even when that record is added to the count, there's still no way the figure could be anywhere near 35 percent," he said.

A majority 31 percent of the city's 37,334 couples who divorced in 2010 - down slightly from 38,772 divorced couples the previous year - were in their 30s, according to Zhou, who said that marriage counseling is starting to reverse recent divorce trends.

"We began marriage consultation for couples in 2004," he said. "About a third of the 4,250 couples who received help last year have since thought twice about splitting up."

Shu Xin, a private marriage counselor, who has roughly a decade of experience in dealing with couples' marital problems, said that most of his patients, or roughly 60 percent of them, are below the age of 35. 

"They haven't been together for all that long and have less to lose than older couples, who share a child," he told the Global Times Tuesday. "They think it's easier for them to just give up on their troubled marriage and start over - and chase another love."

The unhappy situation, combined with more prosperous modern times and a declining public stigma toward divorce, also makes it easier for couples to throw in the towel before growing old together, agreed Xu Anqi, a researcher specializing in marital studies from Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

"Yet, while divorce might seem like the best solution for couples at the height of their problems, those with children should carefully consider their best interests before giving up on each other entirely," said marriage counselor Shu.

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