Today, more and more Chinese couples are composed of “old wives and young husbands.” Statistics show that, in 1990, in such cases there were only 0.08% of those in which the wives were 10 years older than their husbands, whereas in 2000, this percentage has jumped to 0.14%.
Statistics from the fifth national population census in November 2000 revealed that the age gap between husbands and wives had become wider, increasing from 1.8 years in 1990 to 2.1 years in 2000 on average. In 2000, 9.6% of wives were 5 years older than their husbands, while in 1990, the proportion was only 1%.
Early in the 1980s, Guan Xiufang, a researcher from Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, suggested single women of around thirty choose younger husbands, thereby to more room for them to making their choices. “I believe single women above thirties have more difficulties finding husbands, but such a phenomenon has not yet become a social problem. It has not brought any harm to society. I think it’s understandable that a wife is even 20 years older than her husband,” she said.
Hu Deng, a psychologist from Renmin University of China, explains two reasons why such a phenomenon has become popular in recent years. The first is a psychological factor. Men usually have Oedipus complex when they are under the age of puberty, but it would become abnormal when they still hold such feelings in their twenties. Some of them are unwilling to take up their social responsibilities, and tend to rely on people older than themselves. The other factor is from the media. TV series advocate that husband is the first child of his wife, which deeply affect men’s psychological feelings.