An estimated 40 to 50 million Chinese men scattered about the countryside will never know the joy of marriage or family.This is a result of hundreds of years of gender discrimination favoring men over women and the country’s one-child per family policy that led to women having abortions to ensure their only child was a boy.
Today, experts believe that between 12 and 15 percent of Chinese men, who are known as bare branches, will be unable to find a mate within the next seven years. That is a population roughly the size of Texas.
Because of the over abundance of men in Chinese culture, poorer rural men are having a harder time finding mates than their more wealthy urban counter parts. A 2011 survey showed that nearly 70 percent of single women ranked financial considerations above everything else when selecting a husband.
“Bleaker still, whole villages exist without one unmarried woman. Fueled by sexual frustration, marginalized by neighbors, these islanded bachelors are increasingly likely to drink, fight, gamble, and frequent prostitutes,” the Atlantic reports.
“I get very lonely. No one cares about me, and I have no one to speak to when I go home. I sometimes get so drunk that I vomit,” one 36-year-old migrant worker told researchers. “When that happens, there’s no one to clean up after me.”
It’s a downward cycle for rural men. As one researcher described it, “poor->bare branch->poorer” cycle. The enormous and growing inequality problem that already exists in China is furthered by the increasing frustration and anger by those who are left behind — those are disproportionately the unmarriageable, American Enterprise Institute demographics expert and political economist Nicholas Eberstadt said to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The government is playing with fire in encouraging nationalistic tendencies as a way to blow off steam,” Eberstadt added. “That’s not necessarily a ploy that the government is going to be able to control entirely.”
“An entire class of potentially angry, frustrated, relatively poor and uneducated single men can mean serious threats to societal stability, if this group builds a class identity that feels antagonized by society as a whole,” Forbes reports, suggesting concern over the future demographic reality.
“Of course we not unreasonably think about the ways in which China may become increasingly aggressive as a consequence of excess testosterone,” Eberstadt said, adding “an awful lot of the trouble this development will cause could turn out to be internal and domestic.”
As it is, men that are unmarried by the age of 30 are often considered “leftovers” and less desirable mates. Forbes suggests that women will begin marrying earlier as well as men look outside of their immediate peer group to find future spouses.
The marriage squeeze that will happen, and is happening, in China is already in place. The people that will be alive in 30 years as this trend plays out are already alive and the demographic tends will have huge implications on their continued economic growth.
“I have to wonder how people in the American intelligence community or in the international financial world or in China’s economic planning units can think that China’s going to be growing at 7 percent a year for the next 20 years,” Ebserstadt told TheDC News Foundation.
“If you look at the base, it looks like it’s going to be a really hard act to continue,” he said, pointing to the demographics as a fundamental problem.
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