Chinese Terminology: Leftover men and women
Updated 10:36, 27-Dec-2018
By Chen Xieyuan, Sun Zhifu
There's a saying in China – “There are men, women, and female PhD holders."
It's a sexist joke that assumes Chinese women with advanced degrees intimidate men or have standards that are too high. If they remain single for many years, they're labeled "leftover women." 
The term, which emerged around 2006, refers to both men and women over a certain age who are not in committed relationships. Society has often found their single status unacceptable, especially their parents' generation for whom marriages were often arranged.
Yet, the phenomenon of increasing numbers of single adults is obviously more complicated than young people simply being too choosy.
High living costs keep many people from starting families. "Matchmaking corners" – organized for young people to find dates – are now more frequented by parents who desperately promote their children's biographies like salespeople.
But their parents' enthusiasm has not kept young people from valuing spiritual connections over material wealth.
This is exactly why many are not in a hurry to marry. Instead of starting a family at an early age, young people now prefer to give themselves more time to prepare themselves – which will also help them find perfect partners. To them, finding a husband or wife is more than a mission to reproduce; it is a choice about how to spend the rest of their lives. 
CGTN's special series “Chinese Terminology” was launched on November 26 to mark the 40-year anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up. The series, hosted by CGTN anchors Jeff Moody and Jonathan Betz, is aired daily at 20:15, 12:00 and 16:00 BJT.