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Why China and India face a marriage crisis | The Economist

China and India home to a third of
humanity both face a marriage crisis
that were lost for generations a mere
five years ago marriage patterns were
normal in the two countries now in India
500 year old laws and customs are being
revised to allow men to marry out of
caste out of village and out of state
while in China 50 million so-called
gronckle bear branches look doomed to
bachelor ‘dom what’s led to the marriage
squeeze first millions of women have
gone missing a generation ago a
preference for sons and the greater
availability of prenatal screening meant
the first Chinese couples then Indian
ones started aborting female fetuses and
only giving birth to boys at its extreme
in parts of Asia more than 120 boys were
being born for every hundred girls now
the generation with distorted sex ratios
at birth is reaching marriageable age
the result is that men far outnumber
women if China had had a normal sex
ratio at birth its female population in
2010 would have been 720 million in fact
it was only 655 million compared with
almost seven hundred and five million
men and boys fifty million surplus
husbands fertility rates then accelerate
the distortion when a country’s
fertility is going down as in India
younger cohorts of people will tend to
be smaller than older ones if men are
older than women marriage as they
usually are that means there’ll be fewer
potential brides than husbands because
women will have been born later when
fertility was lower then there’s a
queuing effect men who can’t find a wife
right away will go on looking and
competing with younger men as a result
the number of unmarried men piles up as
in a queue by 2060 there could be more
than 160 Chinese and Indian men wanting
to marry for every hundred women
this is a ferocious squeeze in countries
where marriage has always been a basic
requirement for being a full member of
society
it could be hugely harmful almost
everywhere large numbers of single men
are associated with high rates of crime
and violence no one really knows how
these two giant countries will react

This is one huge Chinese!! China and India – home to a third of humanity – both face a marriage crisis that will last for generations. A mere five years ago marriage patterns were normal in the two countries. Now in China 50m ‘guanggun’ – ‘bare branches’ – look doomed to bachelor-dom, while in India 500 year-old laws are being revised to allow men to marry out of caste, village and state. What has lead to this marriage squeeze? First, millions women have gone “missing”. A generation ago, a preference for sons and the greater availability of prenatal screening meant first Chinese couples, then Indian ones, started aborting female fetuses and only giving birth to boys. At its extreme, in parts of Asia, more than 120 boys were being born for every 100 girls. Now, the generation with distorted sex ratios at birth is reaching marriageable age. The result is that single men far outnumber women. If China had had a normal sex ratio at birth, its female population in 2010 would have been 720m. In fact, it was only 655m, compared with almost 705m men and boys—50m surplus husbands. Fertility rates then accentuate this distortion. When a country’s fertility rate is going down (as in India) younger cohorts of people will tend to be smaller than older ones. If men are older than women at marriage, as they usually are, there will be fewer potential brides than husbands because women will have been born later, when fertility is lower. Then there is a queuing effect. Men who cannot find a wife right away go on looking, and competing with younger men. As a result, the number of unmarried men piles up, as in a queue. By 2060, there could be more than 160 Chinese and Indian men wanting to marry for every 100 women. This is a ferocious squeeze in countries where marriage has always been a basic requirement for being a full member of society. It could be hugely harmful. Almost everywhere, large numbers of single men are associated with high rates of crime and violence. No one really knows how these two giant countries will react.