10 million men to have trouble finding wives in China by 2020

16:58, July 08, 2010      

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There is currently a serious gender imbalance among the population below the age of 19 in China, and the country's marriageable men will outnumber marriageable women by 24 million in 2020, according to the "2010 Social Blue Book" released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. It is estimated that up to 10 million marriageable men will find it difficult to procure wives by then.

"China's highly imbalanced sex ratio at birth has lasted for more than 20 years and the cumulative effects have already emerged," said Yuan Xin, a professor from the Institute of Population and Development under Nankai University. The balanced sex ratio is the law of natural evolution, but the imbalanced sex ratio in China has already become a major "obstinate disease" of society.

"During a period as short as 20 years, the regions with highly imbalanced sex ratios have rapidly expanded from eastern to western China, and from the countryside to cities, and cover almost the entire country," said Yuan.

The highly imbalanced sex ratio was seen in only 18 provinces in 1982, but it spread to all of the provincial-level regions except for Tibet by 2005. Of them, the ratio of men to women in three provinces exceeded 130 to one.

Li Bin, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said during a work meeting on taking care of girls and addressing the imbalanced sex ratio issue that national statistics show China's sex ratio at birth stood at almost 120 in 2009, off by more than 1 percentage point from a year earlier, the first-ever decline over recent years. However, the imbalanced sex ratio is still high.

The direct impact of a long-term imbalanced sex ratio at birth is the emergence of "gradient marriage squeeze."

Tian Xueyuan, deputy president of China Population Research Institute, said that it is estimated based on demographic data from the National Bureau of Statistics that among the population at and below the age of 19, males outnumber females by more than 23.8 million. Over the next 20 years, males entering the threshold of the marriage age will outnumber females by 1.2 million per year on average. Given the shortage of marriageable females at the same age, males will find wives among the females at the lower age.

When such a squeeze develops to a certain level, it will develop into other regions – urban men will marry rural women and men from relatively developed regions will marry women from relatively underdeveloped regions. The marriageable but unmarried men will eventually be concentrated among the low-income, impoverished classes.

By People's Daily Online
Additional support provided by LOTO

(Editor:叶欣)

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