Socioeconomic Consequences of Fertility Decline and Rising Child Sex Ratios in China

Last updated December 2010
Monica Das Gupta, Avraham Ebenstein, Ethan Jennings Sharygin

Fertility decline has fueled a sharp increase in the proportion of “missing girls” in China, so an increasing share of males will fail to marry, and will face old age without the support normally provided by wives and children. This paper shows that historically, China has had nearly universal marriage for women and a very competitive market for men. Less educated men experience higher rates of bachelorhood while women favor men with better prospects, migrating if needed from poorer to wealthier areas. The authors examine the anticipated effects of this combination of bride shortage and hypergamy, for different regions in China.

Contact information:
Monica Das Gupta,; Avraham Ebenstein,; Ethan Jennings Sharygin,, The World Bank, Development Research Group