When Chinese policy makers drafted the “one child policy” back in 1979, perhaps they did not foresee the consequences it would have on the dating scene some 30 years later. Due to this policy, China is currently facing an unprecedented shortage of young Chinese women for marriage, and the problem is hitting some groups much harder than others.
One of the root causes for this problem is the belief held by many Chinese that it’s better to have a baby boy than a baby girl; a view reflected by the Chinese saying, “Boys grow up to be dragons.” Women are often under great pressure to give birth to a boy and can sometimes even be divorced if they fail to produce a boy.
So, when faced with the government policy allowing just a single child, many traditional families go to great lengths to make sure that their only baby is a boy who can carry on the family name and become a “dragon.” As a result, over the past 30 years the ratio of the sexes in China has become disproportionate and the gap continues to grow still larger every year.
Nature would expect a birth ratio between sexes to be about 105 males born for every 100 females. However, in China this number is closer to 120 males for every 100 females. According to the Chinese bureau of statistics, the imbalance in sexes among Chinese born after 1979 is about 20 million more males than females. Not only that, but the trend continues to worsen. Over the next decade, the government estimates that every year about 1 million more men than women will enter into the dating pool.
In an attempt to stem the imbalance and prevent selective abortions, government-run hospitals are now restricted from telling couples the sex of their unborn baby. But this does little to solve the current shortage of women for marriage-aged men.
As a more short-term, localized solution, sales of Vietnamese brides along the China-Vietnam border are booming. One such advertisement reads, “Don’t worry about language difficulties or getting along. Get married in less than 3 months, and if she runs away during the first year, we’ll get you a replacement.” Prices have gone up, too, along with increasing demand, and a Vietnamese bride now fetches between USD$ 8,000 and 30,000 in China, a steep increase from only USD$ 500 or 600 back in the mid 1990s.
But who’s really feeling the shortage of Chinese women? Actually, the effects of this phenomenon are more seriously felt in rural and economically poor areas of China. This is true particularly because women tend to “marry up” with men who are economically better-off.
In closing, I remind our readers these macro-trends, while interesting, may have little impact on your personal search for love. We’re sure you will still have plenty of choices when finding a wonderful Chinese wife for marriage. Good luck!