Hypergamy, or the tendency for women to “marry men who are better educated than themselves”, has had a profound effect on the marriage market in China. According to research conducted by phD candidate Yue Qian, approximately 55% of educated Chinese males marry a female who is less educated than himself, while only around 32% of educated females marry a male who is less educated than herself.
Additionally, Yue Qian also mentions that there is such a thing as “age hypergamy”, or the fact that men are 50 times as likely to marry a younger spouse than women. This, in turn, skews the Chinese marriage market, as younger women are extremely likely to get married, because they can marry men their age or older, while older women struggle to get married in general as they must compete against younger women for a spouse their age.
However, one area that the article fails to mention is the long term implications of a skewed marriage market in China. Due to the nature of the marriage market, many successful, well-educated businesswomen are struggling to find a spouse. This is due to the fact that, often, these women put off getting married in order to focus on their education and career. Generally, by the time they are ready to look for a spouse and start a family, their dating pool is narrowed to men their age and older, as it is unlikely that they marry a male who is younger. As a result, these well-educated successful women have a difficult time getting married due to their age and education level.
This is a problem in China, as successful businesswomen are the least likely to marry and reproduce due to the skewed marriage market. Strictly from a reproduction standpoint, this could be harmful in the long-term, as very qualified, well-educated women who have genes that enable them to be successful are not passing those genes along to future generations, which could have a significant impact on China’s economy in the future.