It’s often claimed (for example in What purpose do anti-Polygamy laws serve?) that young men who can’t find a woman will instead engage in violence and other types of anti social behavior.

China currently has 17% more men than women in the 15-24 age bracket due to sex selective abortions being common in their society. Are they suffering any significant downsides as a result? They do have a very low fertility rate but South Korea’s TFR is even lower despite not having the same gender imbalance.

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    1) Voting to close as off-topic but with edits this might be addressed. 2) Does the "Consequences" section of the Wikipedia articles not answer your question already though? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-ratio_imbalance_in_China
    – Brian Z
    Feb 16, 2023 at 13:12
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    @alamar China intentionally tried to make its birth rate be much less than the 2.1 children per woman needed to sustain a country's population with its vigorously enforced one family, old child rule. That law was very unique. (South Korea never had such a law.) Even after retracting that rule, China still has a paucity of children, both male and female, and females more so than males. Feb 16, 2023 at 13:43
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    @JonathanReez 1) I don't think you're reading the same article I linked to if you think it says there are no consequences. It discusses a wide range of them. 2) If the article actually did show that there were no consequences, it would still be a complete to answer your question as currently posed.
    – Brian Z
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:30
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    @alamar You might also ask about India, which has 7-8% more males than females.
    – shoover
    Feb 16, 2023 at 17:08
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    @BrianZ not my question, but seems OP explicitly said he is asking because it was brought up in regards to a question on the legality of polygamous marriage, legality of marriage seems a policy to me. OP could potentially add more explicitly that their interested in china is due to the 1 child policy and it's affects, but even without the latter the fact that the question directly relates to a policy of potential marriage legality seems sufficient justification for this site.
    – dsollen
    Feb 16, 2023 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


Yes, but perhaps not as the ones you discuss. The South China Daily Post has an article:

Cai Yong, an associate professor of social demography at the University of North Carolina, said men from lower social classes faced the most difficulty finding brides.

“They tend to be at the bottom of society and do not have the skills to compete,” he said. “They mostly come from rural areas and are less well educated.”

Jiang [a demography professor at Xian Jiaotong University] said bachelors were also more likely to suffer health problems. “Without marriage, these excess males will suffer poorer physical and psychological health,” he said.

“Chinese people rely on their spouses and children for support in old age, but these men have no such relationships.”

Thus the problems will grow, with the government having to step in and provide for millions of unmarried, poor old men in the 2060s and beyond.


Cai sought to dismiss a widely held assumption that China’s surplus of single men was to blame for social instability and crime.

“The correlation between gender imbalance and crime rate is not strong,” he said.

  • "men from lower social classes faced the most difficulty finding brides" This would be true if there were 100 women for every man. Might as well be saying the ugly men struggle. Has nothing to do with a gender population imbalance and the problems it causes. Feb 16, 2023 at 21:32
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    @candied_orange It's a situation exhasurbated by lack of potential wives. More men wanting a wife will fail to get them if there are fewer men. To a lesser extent it's possible if their culture was aware of the lack of potential brides men who currenty lack wives may have a bleaker outlook and be more resigned to failure then a 20 something in a place with more potential wives who just thinks he hasn't found the right one yet. In other words more fear and regret may exist about difficulty of having a wife because they know how hard it is.
    – dsollen
    Feb 16, 2023 at 22:01
  • @dsollen The phrasing is "most difficulty". As the poorest you face that regardless. Seriously the imbalance would be a problem for all the men. Not just the poorest. Phrasing it this way just makes it seem like it's someone else's problem. Feb 16, 2023 at 22:14
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    @candied_orange but it is a problem for the poorest. They statistically are less likely to get a wife then the richer ones. That's just statistics not trying to phrase things differently. If I say that homelessness is more to occur in the poorest demographic am I somehow saying homelessness isn't a problem, or pointing out who most often experiences it. Suicide is more common in lower socioeconomic brackets. That doesn't mean rich people can't end up committing suicide. It doesn't mean that suicide isn't something we want to prevent. It's just statistics.
    – dsollen
    Feb 16, 2023 at 22:24
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    @dsollen it's a problem for them all. It's called scarcity. It effects everyone competing. A wife is not fungible. It matters who you marry. There's a lot more to being married then just if you are or if you aren't. Feb 16, 2023 at 22:28

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