Single ladies, if you’re planning on heading over to China sometime soon, you might want to settle in practically any region besides Hong Kong. According to the region’s 2011 census, there are 209,000 women living alone and it is estimated that one in five women born in Hong Kong will remain eternally single.
It’s not just that there’s a surplus of women hunting for dates who keep aging in a market that consistently seeks youth. There’s literally a man shortage. The gender ratio is currently at 876 men for every 1,000 women, and it’s estimated to widen to 763 men per 1000 women by 2036. This fa-men (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) was most likely caused by a large percentage of Hong Kong men opting to marry mainland Chinese women instead of their fellow islanders. The Chinese tradition for women to marry up and men to marry down is supported by Hong Kong men looking over the educated and highly qualified Hong Kong women for those with socioeconomic differences in the mainland. A high-earning capability for men is still important for marriage for many, but then again, so is love.
These “excess” single women aren’t going to lower their standards for husbands, but they are going to greater extremes in order to make themselves marriageable, with many visiting “love coaches” like on the show Bride Wannabes. The need for a polished, youthful (and, yes, passive) look is emphasized more than ever. There are 50 practicing plastic surgeons in Hong Kong alone, where women are getting double eyelid surgery, liposuction, and other drastic augmentations in increasing numbers. You know, just tiny changes here and there to stand out from the crowd of other sad, pathetic chronically single women.
The single ladies epidemic could mean more than old spinster jokes, too. If marriage customs or gender imbalances don’t change in the next decade, it could mean a decrease in Hong Kong’s fertility rate. On the upside, little black dress shops will become particularly profitable.
Image via Flickr.