Home > China, Microeconomics > Shortages in Modern China

Shortages in Modern China

The always interesting Adam Minter on the intersection of demographics (sex ratios, migration, urbanization) and economics, when marriage is in view:

It’s a society-wide problem, but particularly in China’s countryside, where sex ratios are much wider, and the lack of affluence drives out young, marriageable women. These twin factors have given rise to what’s widely known as “bachelor villages” — thousands of small towns and hamlets across China overflowing with single men, with few women. Though there’s no definitive study on their frequency, bachelor villages have received widespread attention from academics, as well as journalists. The 2011 study on bride prices cites Baoshi Village in Shaanxi Province, population 1013, including 87 single males over the age of 35. In rural China, where men are expected to marry before 30, those 87 men are likely to remain lifelong bachelors.

How might this problem naturally resolve itself? (I’m not considering mail order brides a “natural” solution, though it is a market solution.) It will be interesting to see what the next generation of families learn from this one. Will families encourage their sons to go to the cities and not stay home? Will there be financial incentive for families to not send their daughters to the cities in search of greater income if it leads to greater difficulty in getting married?

Categories: China, Microeconomics
  1. December 31, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Interesting topic of discussion indeed, while you are still looking for a solution, I wanted to know whether this trend has any similarities to the diminishing birth rates in a number of Japanese villages, creating some ghost villages. And what are the implications of these two trends to their countries’ economies and the economy of Asia in general, these two being the largest economies in the region.

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