China Now Has 33,5 Million More Men Than Women

China’s latest population data reveal that despite the implementation of the ‘two child policy’, the gender imbalance is a continuing social problem.

According to an article issued by national broadcaster CCTV and the Global Times on January 22, the Chinese state now explicitly encourages married couples to have two children.

Recently, the National Bureau of Statistics published a report with new statistics that show the results of China’s shift from its one-child policy (独生子女政策) to the ‘two-child policy’ (二孩政策), that was implemented in late October of 2015.

 

“At the peak of the disparity in girls and boys births in 2004, 121.2 boys were born for every 100 girls.”

 

Data shows that in 2016, a total of 17.86 million children were born; a mere increase of 1.31 million childbirths compared to 2015.

The total population of mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) was estimated at 1.38 billion in late 2016, which marks an increase of 8 million people compared to the year before.

Over 16% (230.8 million) of China’s population is now aged 60 or older. The working age population (16-60 years) is 907.47 million, accounting for 65.6% of the total population.

The data also shows China’s rapid urbanization: the rural population has decreased with 13.7 million people. Currently, almost 793 million people in China live in urban areas, with less than 590 million people residing in China’s rural areas.

Looking at the gender proportionality, China’s male population is currently 708.15 million, with a female population of 674.56 million. This marks China’s problem with gender imbalance, as there are now 33.5 million more men than women.

The article states that China’s current male-female ratio is 104.98 (for every 100 women). In countries such as the UK, the ratio of boys to girl births was 105.3 to 100 in the 2010-2014 period.

But China has seen some extreme imbalanced gender ratios in births since the implementation of the One Child Policy in 1979, which has resulted in a specific disparity in men and women of marrying age. This imbalance has partly been caused by sex-selective abortions.

At the peak of the disparity in girls and boys births in 2004, 121.2 boys were born for every 100 girls (see Larson 2014). The recent CCTV article does not give the gender ratio of births in 2016.

 

“I have three daughters, I made my contribution to society.”

 

On Weibo, the publication of the latest data triggered discussions on China’s gender imbalance.

Some netizens do not think it is a reason for concern: “We don’t need to worry about those 30 million,” one person wrote: “Men can also be together.” Others agree, saying: “Should this not be a reason for us to legalize gay marriage?”

But some find the statistics confusing and too vague: “We need to know the gender ratio of men and women below the age of 30,” they say. “With these numbers, how can so many women still be single?”, others wonder.

Despite the fact that many men in China of marrying age find it hard to find a bride due to the gender imbalance (see: China’s Leftover Men), many women, often referred to as ‘leftover women‘, also struggle to find a suitable partner.

The problem in gender disparity and the struggle to find a partner can partly be explained by the difference in gender ratios between the cities and the countryside, as there are more unmarried women in urbanized areas, while there are more unmarried men in rural areas (see our ‘read more’ articles).

“How am I ever going to find a woman to marry?” some male netizens ask.

There are also people criticizing the official promotion for married couples to have two children: “The family planning [bureau] should have abandoned [the one child policy] long before. Now the problem is not whether we have enough food to eat, but that we are dealing with an aging society. What is the hope of a country without young people?”

“I already made my contribution to society,” one female commenter says: “I’ve had 3 girls. I was pregnant twice, and the second time I had twin girls.” Other netizens applaud the woman. “You must be pretty happy now,” they say.

– By Manya Koetse
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Featured image: “Boys and girls are equally good; girls are also the next generation.”.

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Author

About the author: Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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