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Survey: Average age of 'leftover men' rises

By Xu Chi  (Shanghai Daily)

09:23, March 14, 2013

Demanding mothers-in-law and high work pressure have lifted the average age of "leftover men" in Shanghai to 31, the oldest in the country, a survey found.

Leftover men refer to single men aged 28 to 39 who are eager to marry and start a family. The term is similar to "leftover women," or "shengnu," who are usually well-educated, single women over 27, according to a survey by, a major wedding website.

The survey interviewed more than 56,000 men across the country, mainly single men born in the 1970s and 1980s with university degrees. Among them, 31 percent said they are leftover men.

In Shanghai, about 33.2 percent of the interviewed single men said they were leftover men, ranking fifth highest in the country, the survey found. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region ranked first with 35 percent of respondents saying they were leftover men.

Different from other single men, most of the leftover men are very eager and even confident to find their other halves, but they struggle to say goodbye to their single life, the survey found.

More than half of the respondents said they wouldn't want to be labeled a leftover man.

Shanghai's fast living pace, strong work pressure and demanding mothers-in-law, who have extremely high income expectations for potential husbands for their daughters, have forced these single men to marry at older ages, experts with the website said.

Among the leftover men nationwide, 55 percent are office workers while 36 percent are middle or senior management officials. About 30 percent said they earn less then 2,000 yuan per month while 16 percent said they don't have any income, the survey found.

About 49 percent of respondents said they don't have a car or apartment. Sixty-five percent said they are "indoor guys," according to the survey.

Actresses Crystal Liu, Lin Chiling and Fan Bingbing ranked as the top three "dream women" for Chinese leftover men, the survey found.

Large numbers of leftover men can lead to serious social problems, experts said.

The survey quoted census data showing a gender ratio imbalance among those at usual marrying ages. There were 136 males per 100 females among people born after the 1980s.

Nearly 12 million men aged 30 to 39 are currently unmarried compared to 5.82 million women in the same age range, the survey said.

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