Life and Human Dignity

The Point: Empty Nests in China


John Stonestreet

Lots of empty nests these days in China.

With nearly 1.4 billion people and one-fifth of the entire human race, it may surprise you to learn there are 50 million empty houses in China. By “empty” I don’t mean “abandoned” or “uninhabitable.” They have owners, and by Chinese standards are perfectly acceptable places to live.

So why are they empty?

China’s “one-child policy,” which was in place for decades before being slightly modified, combined with the Chinese preference for boys, created a gender imbalance. The number of never-married men in their thirties in China is now larger than the population of Canada.

This means that competition for wives is fierce. To even stand a chance, a potential groom must own a home. Thus, families often chip in to buy lonely Chinese bachelors a concrete-and-steel-advantage in the marriage lottery.

But empty structures aren’t the only way that China’s “one-child policy” has come up empty.

Demographics shapes destiny, and denying this truth never ends well. We in the West should take note.


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Have a Follow-up Question?

Want to dig deeper?

If you want to challenge yourself as many others have done, sign up below.


Short Courses

Related Content