Why Is China Facing a Marriage Crisis?

Why Is China Facing a Marriage Crisis

Why Is China Facing a Marriage Crisis?

If China is getting it right everywhere else, the country’s marital situation is not at its best. Why is China facing a marriage crisis? For one thing, existing marriages in China are facing a crisis as can be seen in the divorce rate. Imagine having 1.96 divorces among Chinese couples in a typical year last decade.

However, let’s focus on the situation of over 50 million men who appear doomed to bachelorhood. They simply couldn’t find women to marry. What has happened to Chinese women who have been declared missing? It’s now estimated that there are 10% more single men than single women across the country. In some rural areas, the gap is even wider. Some men in their mid-30s say they have never had a girlfriend, not to talk of a wife.

Imagine the whole of California being occupied with men without wives. How did China get to this marriage squeeze? First, let’s clear this. It’s not as if nature had been unfair to the Chinese. It all started decades ago when they started sowing the seed of what they are now reaping.

Chinese couples of previous generations had an obsession for sons. Before that time, the population of women was slightly more than that of men. Meanwhile, there had been a limit of the number of children a couple is allowed to have. Thus, prenatal screening was getting more available, accessible, and affordable.

The preference for males caused Chinese couples to start aborting female fetuses. As the trend continued, the male-female birth rate started widening. At some point, the birth ratio of boys to girls was 120:100. And the trend is still increasing. The generation of Chinese with the distorted sex ratio at birth has now reached marriageable age. With men far outnumbering women, it’s impossible not to see some men who have been condemned to bachelorhood.

If Chinese couples had allowed a natural birth ratio, the female population as of 2010 would have been 720 million when it was only 655 million. As at that time, there had been 50 million surplus husbands since the men population then was only 705 million. Unfortunately, nothing drastic was done to stem the tide. Thus, the marriage crisis is likely to continue for the next 20 years.

Out of desperation to get wives, the Chinese men have resorted to the ancient practice of bride-kidnapping. Even though this practice had been stamped out during early communist rule, it’s now back. Bride buying is now one of the lucrative illegal businesses to satisfy the desires of desperate bachelors. Organized gangs of traffickers are making huge money tricking women using the promise of better jobs and selling them to needy bachelors in faraway places through marriage brokers.


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Others simply travel to poor provinces to kidnap women. You can’t expect happy outcomes from such arrangements. Many of the tricked or kidnapped ladies would later escape.

The marriage crisis is compounded by racism in China. Some Chinese living in China don’t consider foreigners as friends, let alone marriage mates. If not, they could have cushioned the crisis by importing women from other countries with surplus ladies, such as the US.


What do you think about the Chinese marriage crisis? Kindly let us know in the comment section below.



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