Feel like there are too many men in the world? You are correct.
In a report from the Washington Post titled “Too Many Men,” journalists Simon Denyer and Annie Gowen parse the effects of policies in China and India that have led to a staggering gender imbalance in their population, particularly amongst people who are now of child-bearing age:
Out of China’s population of 1.4 billion, there are nearly 34 million more males than females — the equivalent of almost the entire population of California, or Poland, who will never find wives and only rarely have sex. China’s official one-child policy, in effect from 1979 to 2015, was a huge factor in creating this imbalance, as millions of couples were determined that their child should be a son.
India, a country that has a deeply held preferences for sons and male heirs, has an excess of 37 million males, according to its most recent census. The number of newborn female babies compared with males has continued to plummet, even as the country grows more developed and prosperous. The imbalance creates a surplus of bachelors and exacerbates human trafficking, both for brides and, possibly, prostitution. Officials attribute this to the advent of sex-selective technology in the last 30 years, which is now banned but still in widespread practice.
In the two countries, 50 million excess males are under age 20.
Researchers are anticipating an even bigger gap between men and women of marriageable age in the next few decades, as those born in the last ten years grow up. (“Marriageable age” is defined as being between 15 and 29, which covers a lot of ground.) These new men seeking mates are expected to clash with the older men who are still single.
This has had pretty huge cultural effects outside fewer marriages. For one, sexual violence is on the rise, according to the Post, and women in India are being put under more restrictive watch as a means of protection. There are also more reports of trafficking in China, as women are lured there and forced into marriages. Smaller villages are emptying out, and depression is widespread.
You can read the full story and more personal tales here.