China’s Demographics in the One Child Policy Era: Answered and Unanswered Questions

Modern China’s unnaturally high sex ratio at birth can be understood as a social collision between three powerful forces- ruthless and enduring son-preference; sub-replacement fertility, which perforce freights the gender of each birth with additional imports for parents; and inexpensive, universally available prenatal gender determination technology in the context of an unconditional abortion policy. China’s imbalanced sex ratios at birth over the past generation already portend a virtually unavoidable “marriage squeeze” for the generation to come; but that “squeeze” may be even more severe than previously anticipated owing to a new trend just now beginning to emerge on the Mainland: a “flight from marriage” by young women.

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