Trends for the growing number of unmarried people in China are based on age, location, income and job status

By He Keyao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/3 15:58:39

The number of single adults keeps growing in China, especially in big cities. Experts predict that a

The number of single adults keeps growing in China, especially in big cities. Experts predict that a "single boom" will soon hit the country. Photo: IC

"Do you have a girlfriend yet?" "When are you going to get married?" "Don't you think you should find someone and build a family at your age?" Many singles around 25-35 years old will encounter these questions at a big family gathering, especially during traditional festivals. As the Chinese New Year approaches, singles are again becoming the center of attention. According to a recent report by, one of China's biggest dating websites, Chinese singles have presented some interesting trends in the past year.

Beijing is the biggest singles' camp

According to statistics by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, there were more than 200 million single adults in China in 2015, and the number was still rising. Experts say that a "single boom" will inevitably hit the country soon.

In fact, the majority of single adults live in metropolitans and big cites. Based on the report by, Beijing tops as the biggest camp for the unmarried, followed by Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, Shanghai, Guangzhou in Guangdong Province and Chengdu in Sichuan Province.

"First-tier cities are much more tolerant for singles, and I feel more free living alone here. I can find many friends around that remain single at my age," said Lisa Zhao, 30, who works in the energy sector in Beijing.

She said being single is not a big deal since she lives in the capital, and her life quality isn't affected by her marital status.

However, each time she returns to her hometown in Liaoning Province, she feels strong peer pressure.

Most of her childhood friends and classmates are already married and some have children. She is often labeled as a "leftover woman" and her parents push her into blind dates while she is at home.

"It's totally a different life pace and attitude. I can sense a big gap in people's mentality between Beijing and my hometown," Zhao said.

She feels relieved to live in Beijing and to hang out with her single peers. She thinks that the freedom of different lifestyles and tolerance to diversity in big cities are one of the reasons that more unmarried people live there.

"Look at big international cities like New York and London; singles in their 30s or even 40s are common. The more open and developed a place is, the more diverse lifestyles that people can enjoy," she said.


A well-educated 28-year-old woman is found to be the most popular in the marriage market. Photo: IC

A well-educated 28-year-old woman is found to be the most popular in the marriage market. Photos: IC

The ideal partner

Moreover, women around 28 years old are found to be the most popular in the dating world, according to the report that investigated 3,811 single adults in the country. Compared with young and fresh faces in their early 20s, Chinese unmarried men seem more likely to chase after women with more work and life experience.

"I think women in their late 20s are more attractive, and they are more mature and capable to deal with their work and personal life," said Rock Li, 29, a finance consultant in Beijing, who is in love with a 28-year-old woman.

He thinks that compared with younger girls, woman aged 28-30 have a more stable life and know more about themselves and what they really want, which helps to lead to a stable and long-lasting relationship.

"Still young yet more independent, both economically and mentally, that's the attraction of women at this age," Li said.

Meanwhile, the report portrays the most popular male date as a 33-year-old with a monthly income of 20,000 yuan ($2,880.59) from the Beijing area, with height around 175-180 centimeters.

People that meet those standards are often dubbed as "quality men." This is exactly what Wang Wei (pseudonym), 27, is looking for.

"Men in their early 30s are more serious about relationships and they are more likely to find a wife and get married, rather than just find a girlfriend," Wang said.

She thinks that men in their 20s are a bit childish, and most of them have not established their career foundation or found their long-term career path, which makes them a poor choice for a husband in her opinion.

'Bachelorism' on the rise

Another trend among unmarried groups is the rise of "bachelorism."

According to a recent report by, a national media agency that focuses on young people, 36.8 percent of single Chinese females think that life without marriage can be equally happy and enjoyable. However, statistics from further proves that many of those so-called "bachelorism" followers are made by force, not choice.

Statistics show that nearly 40 percent of the interviewed singles who refuse or escape from love-hunting efforts found it really hard to find a partner, while about a quarter of them said that they have difficulties building up a relationship even if they love someone.

Ironically, only 7.85 percent of those singles acknowledge that they actually enjoy living alone.

"Bachelorism" sometimes works as a shelter and excuse to protect them from their reality. Zhang Yue (pseudonym), 35, a senior manager of an IT company in Shanghai, mirrors these people.

Zhang started to work in Shanghai 10 years ago after graduating from university. With strong self-esteem, she fought very hard for her future and gained a promising career and considerable income.

However, she has not found a suitable boyfriend since her young romance ended in college.

Due to the high platform of her company, she has worked with a number of elites and entrepreneurs in the finance sector, which makes her want to find someone as successful as them. She has set up very high standards for her future husband, which few people can reach. Therefore, a decade later, she remains single.

When talking about her marital status, she often pretends enjoying living on her own and sometime boasts herself as a "bachelorist," stressing that this is the lifestyle she wants.

She uses it as a way to protect her pride. However, the reality is that she finds it too hard to find someone she likes at her age, and she has almost given up trying.

Profession preferences in romance

One of the interesting results found in the report is that one's marital status has a connection with some particular occupations.

IT industry is found to have the most bachelors, followed by the manufacturing sector, while single females take over the highest proportion in sales and finance professions.

Moreover, single women working in accounting, nursing and care, and personnel administration, enjoy the highest popularity in the marriage market, while men working as professional managers, financial planners and civil servants will receive the most olive branches.

When asked about profession preference in finding a date, many tell Metropolitan that economic income, stability and social status are the three key elements. The first two factors weigh more in single men, while the latter two are more valued in women.

Staying single

"There are only leftover women, but no leftover men," said Li.

Li returned to Beijing for work after he finished his postgraduate degree in the UK. Most of his friends are highly educated and have well-paid jobs. However, many of them remain single and ask him to help set them up on a date. He finds that women are more likely to become picky, and the high standard they set for their future partners are one of the barriers that keep them away from love. Compared with women, men seem more practical and are more likely to make compromise when finding a date.

"They dislike people who chase after them, yet they like people who are too good for them," Li said when referring to his female single friends and colleagues.

He thinks the real problem lies in their interpretation on themselves, which makes them unfit for a date as charming as they expect, but unwilling for a less attractive choice. Zhang is a typical example.

Moreover, the value system for a date is different for males and females. For many highly educated single women, they treat their professional achievement as a big selling point when dating. However, women in high-powered careers are not always the ideal candidate for some men.

"We define 'excellence' differently in work and in personal life. To me, a female senior manager with considerable income that has a bad temper is valued much less than an ordinary librarian who is good-looking, gentle and considerate in nature," Li said.

Newspaper headline: Single minded


blog comments powered by Disqus