Even at Shanghai’s ‘Marriage Market,’ it’s Hard to Find a Date by Sixth Tone & The Paper

“Even at Shanghai’s ‘marriage market’, it’s hard to find a date” is a data analysis of personal matchmaking ads.
The Paper and Sixth Tone collected hundreds of ads from the “marriage market” in People’s Park, a centrally located park in Shanghai, China. What’s special about these ads is that they are written by the parents, instead of the people who are looking a spouse. These ads say something about Chinese views on relationships – maybe some outdated views – but still important views since Chinese parents are deeply involved in their children’s marriage decisions.
In the interactive product, we offer the readers a chance to click and see each ad before going into a macro-level analysis (all ads are desensitized). Because many of the readers (even local Chinese readers) may not be familiar with this matchmaking option, the individual ads may help them get a quick and rough idea about it.
Comparison of genders is the main theme for the analysis. Each pink dot represents a woman and each blue dot represents a man in the “marriage market”. The dots are clustered to different groups as the analysis goes on. Some of the findings are expected (e.g. men are looking for younger women and women are looking for older men), and some surprise us (e.g. a lot of women don’t mind a man without an apartment).
Although this analysis is primarily a quantitative one, we added some qualitative demonstration to capture the more individualized phrasings in these ads. For example, detailed descriptions of home are presented directly to contrast the unoriginality parents show in describing their children’s characters and personalities.