In China, men overwhelmingly outnumber women. The ratio of men of marriageable/dating age (15-30 years old) to every woman is 1.15 — an unusual imbalance that’s created a rat race of bachelors vying for the affections of a limited pool of young women. Many may want to marry, but never will.
Men started outnumbering women in 2002. It has become almost an unspoken prerequisite for bachelors to have enough for a down payment on a home before attracting a wife. Which, in turn, has bred fierce competition among the male population.
“Acquiring wealth becomes far more important,” says Wei, director of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business at Columbia. In fact, China’s bachelors helped drive its growing housing market. Last year, Wei and other experts published a study that showed up to 48% or ($8 trillion worth) of the rise in property values across 35 major cities is linked to the country’s gender imbalance.
Over the past 10 years, China’s economy has grown about 10% annually. Wei estimates the gender imbalance, on average, contributed 2 percentage points annually during that period.
History suggests the growth has to slow. Typically when income per capita reaches about $17,000, growth on average starts declining about 2% a year. In China, income per capita in 2011 stood at $5,445. It will be some time before it reaches its peak, but growth has already started decelerating. In 2012, GDP growth slowed to 7.8% from 9.3% in 2011 and 10.4% in 2010.
Yet the country’s demographic kink could offset future slowdown, Wein says. Over the next 10 years, the male-to-female ratio will rise to 1.2 men per woman, in part, one of the many unintended consequences of China’s three-decade-old policy limiting couples to one child in a culture where parents overwhelmingly favor males over females.
SOURCE – Fortune
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