Finding Mr or Mrs Right in the world's most populous country is no easy task
When it comes to finding a life partner, millions of women in China face stark choices in a society where traditional ideas about matrimonial hierarchy run up against huge economic and social changes sweeping the world's most populous country.
A 2012 survey by China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) on unmarried individuals revealed that there were 23.1 million more men than women. Adding to the problem of gender imbalance, about half of the 11.9 million unmarried men born in the seventies prefer younger spouses, making it even harder for unmarried men born in the eighties and nineties to find a wife.
While traditional pressures to marry remain strong, many in China today place more importance on career, education and property ownership ahead of starting a family.
Hence, the Chinese are tying the knot later in life. According to a 2010 national census, men are marrying at an average age of 26.7 years while women do so at 24.9 years. This translates to an average postponement of 1.4 years for men and 1.5 years for women, compared to a decade earlier.
This results in an unusual yet stark reality in this country of 1.35 billion people: women may have their pick of the men but millions of Chinese males face the dim reality of not finding a life partner.
Hence, organized matchmaking events - where attendees can number in the tens of thousands - are taken very seriously, while many singletons advertise themselves on billboards in the hope of securing the man or woman of their dreams.
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