shengnv leftover woman

“Leftover Women” Accumulating in Beijing

Single women usually educated, while single men are not

“Leftover women” is a disparaging Chinese term used to describe “older” women who have failed to find a husband. But despite the shame attached to the role, this is a demographic that continues to grow.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics has found that the number of single women in Beijing is rising, accounting for 45 percent of all singles between the ages of 30 and 44, an increase of 40 percent from the last time the survey was held five years ago.

And as befitting the “leftover woman” model, these single women are usually city residents with good educations. Ninety-three percent of these women live in urban areas, and 81 percent hold college degrees or higher. By contrast, the survey found that single men in China usually live in rural areas. More than half of these single men only have a junior high school education at best.

If you’re thinking a quirky rom-com scenario is the ideal circumstance to match-up these unlikely pairs, you’d be wrong. Xinhua reports that Chinese men tend to marry younger, less educated women than themselves.

According to some experts, the rise of leftover women may be simply due to the fact that women are better enjoying their rights and freedoms. Writer Luo Aiping, 38,  has said the high numbers of leftover women in China is a sign of progress. Luo maintains that real achievement for women is attaining equal respect and freedom.

The Beijing survey was taken of one percent of the population as a way to supplement the national census.


Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor