, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 77–100 | Cite as

Skewed Sex Ratios at Birth and Future Marriage Squeeze in China and India, 2005–2100

  • Christophe Z. GuilmotoEmail author


I examine the potential impact of the anticipated future marriage squeeze on nuptiality patterns in China and India during the twenty-first century. I use population projections from 2005 to 2100 based on three different scenarios for the sex ratio at birth (SRB). To counteract the limitations of cross-sectional methods commonly used to assess the severity of marriage squeezes, I use a two-sex cohort-based procedure to simulate marriage patterns over the twenty-first century based on the female dominance model. I also examine two more-flexible marriage functions to illustrate the potential impact of changes in marriage schedules as a response to the marriage squeeze. Longitudinal indicators of marriage squeeze indicate that the number of prospective grooms in both countries will exceed that of prospective brides by more 50% for three decades in the most favorable scenario. Rates of male bachelorhood will not peak before 2050, and the squeeze conditions will be felt several decades thereafter, even among cohorts unaffected by adverse SRB. If the SRB is allowed to return to normalcy by 2020, the proportion of men unmarried at age 50 is expected to rise to 15% in China by 2055 and to 10% in India by 2065. India suffers from the additional impact of a delayed fertility transition on its age structures.


China India Sex ratio at birth Marriage simulation Marriage squeeze 



I thank my colleagues at UNFPA, CEPED, and CEDEPLAR for their suggestions on my preliminary presentations. Additional help from Isabelle Attané, Eva Lelièvre, Zoé E. Headley, Gavin Jones, and Ines G Županov on a previous version is gratefully acknowledged. Anonymous reviewers for Demography also provided detailed and useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de recherche pour le développement/CEPEDParisFrance

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