Thursday, January 14, 2010

Too Many Men

No, I'm not talking about singles bars on a Friday night - I'm talking about China.

From the Department of It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature comes this troubling story: Skewed China Birth Rate to Leave 24 Million Men Single.

According to a study commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, more than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses by 2020, an imbalance largely caused by sex-specific abortions designed to favor the birth of sons to families under China's one-child policy. This gender imbalance among newborns ranks as China's most serious demographic problem, according to some reports.

You would think that with a population of over 1.3 billion, there would be plenty of young women for all those men to marry. But a traditional societal preference for sons, linked with the state's general policy of allowing only one child per family, has led to a tremendous imbalance in the ratio of men to women. The normal male-female ratio at birth ranges from 103-107 males for every 100 females, which is nature's way of compensating for the fact that more men are likely to die early in wars, accidents, and so on. But in 2005, the last year for which data were made available, there were 119 boys for every 100 girls, and the ratio in some areas was as high as 130 males for every 100 females. In a time of (relative) peace, with no war or other cause to reduce the number excess men, the ratio can skyrocket we see in today's China.

The one-child-per-family policy was instituted by the Chinese government in 1979 an attempt to control the rapidly-growing population. In the 1980's, when ultrasound and other tests to identify the gender of a fetus became widespread, couples began engaging in "gender selection" to ensure the birth of sons who could help support the parents in later years, and were viewed as more valuable for work and family prestige.

The result: a vast number of men who will never be able to marry, and all the attendant problems of prostitution, trafficking of women for sex and marriage, and social unrest in poorer regions where low-income single men are unable to compete for the attention of the available women.

An old commercial for a brand of margarine showed a furious Mother Nature, angered because she couldn't tell the difference between the margarine and her beloved butter. If she gets this upset over margarine, how will she react to the vast number of sexually frustrated men in China?

This will be an interesting...and frightening...issue to watch in the coming years.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

I wonder how a single son succeeds in caring for aging parents in that society? Because, really, from what I've read, it's the son's WIFE that takes care of her in-laws.

Leslie David said...

That's what they get for thinking men are superior to women.

Debbie said...

Adding to the imbalance is China only allowing female babies to be adopted overseas.

Mike said...

What Debbie said! I know a couple that has adopted two girls from China. But that could work as part of a master plan to educate Chinese girls here and have them go back to run the country.

Anonymous said...

This could be a real problem. In pre-historic, and continuing as late as the historical Rape of the Sabines, waging war to obtain women has been a frequent occurrence. What happens when China puts those 20 million extra men into uniform, and says, "You want women? Go get get 'em, Private Lee (x 20 million!).

Eminence Grise, political thinker famous for his dirty mind.