Bare Branches, Prostitution, and HIV in China: A~Demographic Analysis

Avraham Y. Ebenstein*, Ethan Jennings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The alarming rise in China’s reported HIV cases in the last decade has caused concern among government officials and public health researchers. The increase in reported HIV cases is especially worrying because the majority of new cases are not observed in traditional high risk populations (such as intravenous drug users and recipients of former plasma donors), but are sexually transmitted. This chapter analyzes the demographic patterns in China that may be an important determinant of the increase in sexually transmitted HIV infections. High sex ratios, numbers of men relative to numbers of women, in young cohorts of Chinese men and women contribute to the increasing failure of Chinese men to marry. These men, referred to as bare branches (guang gun) since they will be unable to extend the family tree, are more likely to migrate to regions with more favorable marriage markets, and may be more likely to purchase sex.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationSpringer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis
ISSN (Print)1877-2560
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1990

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Child Policy
  • Intravenous Drug User
  • Marriage Market
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection
  • Total Fertility Rate


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