China may face a marriage crisis starting 2020 due to the shortage of brides, according to demographic export Yao Meixiong.
One of the signs that highlight the upcoming problem is the current bride price that men pay the families of their potential brides. The bride price has gone up to 150,000 yuan ($23,534) or even higher in some villages, costing common families years of savings.
As a result, many villages are seeing a significant increase in the number of bachelors.
One factor is the imbalanced gender ratio, with the country having 701 million men to 667 million women, a difference of almost 34 million, at the end of 2014.
Currently, China is among only 18 countries and regions where more than 107 boys are born for every 100 girls.
By 2020, there will be more than 24 million more Chinese men than women aged 20 to 45, leaving a lot of aging bachelors, especially in the underprivileged countryside.
Yao, along with other population experts, has highlighted the social instability that the surplus male population will cause, including a rise in marriage disputes, sexual violence and trafficking of women.
The primary cause for the imbalanced gender ratio is the cultural favoring of males due to social and economic factors, according to experts. This coupled with family planning regulations, including the One Child Policy, and fetus gender identification, encourages families to terminate the pregnancy if the child is a girl.
Health authorities have been launching programs each year to prevent illegal prenatal gender tests and sex-selective abortions. Between 1971 and 2012, 270 million cases of artificial abortions occurred, excluding medical abortions.