The Paradox of Early Marriage Trend in China: Skewed Sex Ratio and Reshuffling Marriage Market

Yingchun Ji, Shanghai University
Hao Liu, Renmin University of China

Scholars have long been focused on how the skewed sex ratio at birth has led to marriage squeeze for rural Chinese men from a narrow economic approach. Almost no research has investigated the unexpected trend of early marriage in rural China, or even linked it to the marriage squeeze. Analyzing individual-level data from the latest Chinese census, we have found that early marriage is more closely related to marriage squeeze for rural men, than sex ratio at birth in the locality. Further, early marriage and late marriage for rural men is economically and geographically unevenly distributed. The richest provinces are not much influenced by the skewed sex ratio. Whereas, rural men in the least developed, and most remote region are at the bottom of the marriage market reshuffling, a combined marriage squeeze and early marriage passed over from the richest region across the spectrum of development and geographic location.

Presented in Poster Session 2