Beijing ranks sixth in 'leftover men'

2013-04-19 01:40:40 GMT2013-04-19 09:40:40(Beijing Time)  Global Times

Beijing has ranked sixth in the first-ever nationwide poll of "leftover men" jointly released Wednesday by the Beijing Municipal Communist Youth League and the Beijing Youth Federation.

"Leftover men" refers to single men seeking to marry and start a family. The term is similar to "leftover women," who are considered well-educated, single women over 27.

The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region topped the poll with 34.9 percent of its single men classifying themselves as "leftover," followed by Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces (both 33.4 percent). Among Beijing's bachelors, 33 percent identified themselves as "leftover."

The survey, compiled by Chinese dating website Shijijiayuan, based its findings on answers from more than 56,000 respondents.

"We defined 'leftover men' as single men over 20 who considered themselves as 'leftover,'" said Ma Xizhe, media officer for Shijijiayuan.

Just over one-third of "leftover men" aged between 28 and 39 listed their occupation as "senior manager." Half have neither a car nor property, while 56 percent said they lacked adequate opportunities to socialize with women.

Ma said the biggest difference between single men and women can be found in their personal background.

"Most 'leftover women' are in a better position than 'leftover men' regarding assets and education. Women are single because men feel intimidated and unable to meet their lofty expectations," said Ma.

The survey found 37 percent of "leftover men" nationwide had a master's degree or above, compared to 48 percent for "leftover women."

Single males also trailed females in earnings, with 29 percent of men having a monthly salary of 15,000 yuan ($2,423) or higher compared to 36 percent of women for the same amount.

China has been dealing with an unbalanced male-female ratio since the 1980s, with the disparity in male-to-female births in 2012 being 117.7 boys for every 100 girls, according to the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Wang Chao, a 30-year-old bachelor, blamed his busy work routine in the IT industry and small social circle for his single status.

"In any case, I don't have a desirable financial situation because I don't have a car or property. I'm quite traditional in my belief that men should be providers to women," the self-confessed "leftover man" told the Global Times.

Wang's job in IT, a male-dominated industry, provides another obstacle in finding a girlfriend, he said.

"I'm an otaku who doesn't know how to talk with women," said Wang, referring to a popular Japanese term that describes people who are socially reclusive because of their hobbies and interests.

A 29-year-old single woman, surnamed Liu, told the Global Times that many men who are deemed "leftover" often remain single because they are reluctant about long-term commitment.

"Some men want to find a girlfriend, but don't have plans to settle down in the long run," said Liu, adding that other men can spook "leftover women" when they "come on too strong."

"One man I went on a blind date with told me his boss had a child at 35 who later developed eye problems. He told me he wanted to get married and have a child early to ensure it would be a healthy child," said Liu.

A 2011 survey found more than 70 percent of China's "leftover" men and women suffer depression, with three-quarters unsatisfied about being single.

One of the reasons for this could be the pejorative term "leftover" and its associated stigma, some experts argue.

Li Yinhe, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the term is inappropriate because it implies happiness can only be found in marriage.

"Some people choose to be single, so they shouldn't be labeled 'leftover.' The stigma of being single is deeply rooted in Chinese tradition, with society placing too much emphasis on family values that portray single life as miserable," said Li, adding that some couples enter unhappy marriages.

Li added single men and women shouldn't feel panicked or stressed about their status, noting that more people are choosing to remain single or marry later in life.

"If singles can account for more than 10 percent of the total population, society will eventually change its view and portrayal of those we label 'leftover,'" said Li.

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Editor: Yu Runze
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