More than four million people in China registered for divorce last year, an increase of eight percent compared to 2015, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Thursday.
At the same time, the number of people applying for marriage certificates decreased by seven percent year on year, according to the Ministry's annual report on social development.
The country's crude divorce rate has now risen for 13 consecutive years, hitting a new high of three per 1,000 population in 2016 – more than double the amount recorded in 2004 (1.28).
Statistics from UK-based magazine The Economist show that China's divorce rate in 2015 far surpassed that of most European countries and was, in fact, gaining on the US, which has the highest divorce rate among western nations.
Incompatible personalities or family dissension account for the majority of break-ups, but some experts believe that economic issues, living in different houses for long periods and affairs are also responsible for the upward trend.