Socio-Demographic Risks and Challenges of Bare-Branch Villages in China Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2013

start page

  • 99

end page

  • 116


  • 2


  • 7

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1753-1411


  • China's bare branches, the Chinese name for surplus men, have attracted much attention, yet few studies have focused on the increasing phenomenon of bare-branch villages. In this literature review, the formation of bare-branch villages, the impact of such villages on individual bare branches and their families, and potential threats to villages and families are analyzed. It was found that the sex ratio and female marriage migration to prosperous areas are the two main determinants of the formation of bare-branch villages. Individual bare branches in such villages are affected both physically and psychologically and are isolated in social activities. Their families and villages suffer in many ways. Bare branches may accelerate the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and increase the incidence of criminal behavior and violence. Even worse, because bare branches in a village share many bonds, they may take collective actions that can endanger China's social stability.


  • bare branch; china; collective action; marriage migration; sex ratio; social network