Report highlights risks of single people

Updated: 2013-01-19 18:04


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BEIJING - Single living may pose serious impact on social development, experts have warned.

About 249 million people aged 18 or above are unmarried (including divorced and widowed), while the number of unmarried men born from the 1970s to the mid-1990s had outnumbered their female counterparts by more than 23 million, according to a Friday report run in Life Times, a weekly newspaper affiliated to the People's Daily.

The report cited official statistics from the 2010 population census and a November survey covering 77,045 participants with the popular dating service

It noted that many unmarried people choose to remain single or wait for a perfect spouse, while quite a number of younger adults are unable to find love due to an inferior economic or social status.

Li Jianmin, a population expert with the Tianjin-based Nankai University, was cited as saying that the growing single population is accelerating the aging of society and will eventually lead to a lower birth rate.

In terms of population structure, a continued trend of being unmarried will worsen the imbalance between age groups and result in an insufficient workforce, said Li.

In 2012, the number of working-age people in China, which covers ages between 15 and 59, decreased by 3.45 million to 937.27 million, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Li said he believed that the sustainable development of the population is part of the country's "soft power".

In addition, unmarried peole might face difficulties when they grow old, as the country still lacks a sound social security network and people are expected to rely on family members to nurse them, Li said.

Studies had also indicated that living alone costs more resources per capita than living within a family.

However, "There is no need to panic over the situation," according to Li, as the "single wave" will gradually return to a more rational and balanced pattern.

"Our society should be more tolerant of different views on marriage," said Li.