Too many males: marriage market implications of gender imbalances in China

Dudley L. Poston, Jr., Texas A&M University
Karen Glover

This paper deals with the demographic destiny of the People’s Republic of China. Since the 1960s China has experienced a dramatic fertility transition from around 6 children per woman in the early 1960s to around 1.7 children per woman in the year of 2001. This transition has resulted in a remarkable occurrence regarding the differential numbers of boys and girls born. In every year beginning in 1978 to the year of 2001, more Chinese boys have been born than Chinese girls. This has important implications for China’s marriage markets starting in the first decade of this new century. We estimate that there will be more than 23 million boys already born in China who will not be able to find Chinese brides. Our paper considers the cause of this demographic shift, namely, China’s dramatic fertility transition. We then show the gender imbalances and discuss their implications for China’s destiny.

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Presented in Session 63: Demographic issues in developing countries having low fertility