In rural China many men have a nice woman they would like to marry, they just can’t afford her.
In decades past, a groom’s family might have to come up with a color TV, a washing machine and a fridge to make a marriage happen. These days, brides’ families are a bit harder to impress.
In places like Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Gansu province, the average price for a bride is as much 200,000 yuan ($29,000), according to an investigation from People’s Daily which found that bride prices have more than tripled in recent years in many areas. Of course, that’s not counting the car, flat and jewelry that must be included in many deals.
“The poorer the place, the higher the bride price,” People’s Daily notes, summarizing an unfortunate trend that has created “bare branches villages” in rural China where a large number of men competing to wed a dwindling number of women are given a first-hand lesson in the economics of scarcity.
What’s on Weibo notes a report from Kankanews in which one 24-year-old from rural Gansu says that he had been searching for a bride for 7 years. When he finally found a suitable candidate, the bride’s family asked for 180,000 yuan. Since he could only come up with 120,000 yuan, the wedding was called off.
According to the latest figures, there are 33.59 million more men than women in China, a disparity that is commonly blamed on the sex-selective abortions and female infanticide that were the byproducts of the infamous one child policy. To help fill the gender gap, human trafficking rings have been doing booming business, kidnapping women from neighboring countries like Vietnam to sell as brides in rural China.
Meanwhile, there have been other solutions put forward about to how to solve the looming demographic crisis. In 2015, one Zhejiang University professor proposed that low income guys should simply start sharing wives — as well as the financial burden it takes to get them.
[Images via Kankanews / People’s Daily]
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