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Friday, July 5, 2013

Chinese “Bride Price”

7:39:22 PM

Chinese “Bride Price”

Marcus Roberts | 12 Jun 2013

Partly as a result of China’s gender gap (we have blogged about this before) the “bride price” in many parts of China is putting people off marrying. What is a “bride price”? Well according to the Quartz website, it’s “a kind of reverse-dowry in which men pay a woman and her family in order to marry her”.  This tradition is making it difficult for Chinese couples to marry:

“Because it’s difficult for men of normal means to meet the expected bride prices, many of them simply cannot afford wives. Though Shanghai had the highest bride price [typically $16,300], in most provinces it fell in the range of $9,780 to $13,000 range, and many online commenters said the map underestimated the standard bride price (link in Chinese). The average annual income, by contrast, is about $9,300.”

Why do parts of China have this tradition?

“The tradition was originally conceived to provide for the bride’s aging parents, since she would presumably be caring for her husband’s parents as they aged. But though that’s no longer a worry, many brides and their families still expect suitors to shell out, viewing male income as a barometer of marriageability.

Even beyond stated bride prices, to be considered eligible for marriage, men are usually expected to buy a house—”build a nest to attract a phoenix,” as the saying goes. China’s skyrocketing real estate prices make that an increasingly burdensome requirement: a 100 square-meter apartment in Shanghai costs around $400,000 these days.” (...)

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