In recent news from the China it seems a new cause for that nation’s rapidly rising divorce rate has just been discovered; earthquakes. The China Daily website recently reported that â€œexpertsâ€ are saying that the devastating magnitude-8 Wenchuan earthquake of 2008 that killed more than 69,000 people and left more than18,000 missing, caused residents of Southwest China’s Sichuan province to feel that â€œlife was short and unpredictableâ€ and made the decision to live each day to the fullest. Apparently â€œliving each day to the fullestâ€ includes getting a divorce, as the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs has reported that 1.3 million couples got divorced in the first nine months of the year and the Sichuan province was at the top of the list of divorcees with 102,596 couples filing for divorce. The Sichuan province had only ranked seventh nationwide in terms of the number of divorces just one year earlier.
The divorce rate has been rising rapidly in China since the 2003 introduction of the revised Regulation on Marriage Registration made it easier to get divorced.
Prior to the revision, Chinese couples were required to obtain letters of introduction from their work units or neighborhood committees when seeking a divorce. Since 2003, couples only have to show their identification cards and a divorce agreement to file for divorce. The revised regulation has probably had the effect of encouraging more divorces, but increased social mobility and distant job opportunities have also been factors in the jump in the province’s divorce rate. It is estimated that the millions of young migrant workers who leave Sichuan each year in search of better job opportunities often leave their spouses behind, creating more stress, and ultimately more divorces at home.
Although the divorce rate in Sichuan province may have been on a slow rise following the revision of the marriage regulations in 2003, the recent exponential increase in breakups in the area immediately following the 2008 mega-quake does suggest that perhaps earthquakes actually can cause divorces. If this phenomenon repeats in North America perhaps the infamous San Andreas Fault in California might be better named as the Other Spouse’s Fault.