Volume 31 - Article 33 | Pages 1007–1042  

Changing partner choice and marriage propensities by education in post-industrial Taiwan, 2000-2010

By Yen-Hsin Alice Cheng


Background: Very little is known about recent marriage differentials by education in times of marriage decline and economic restructuring in East Asia.

Objective: This study aims to contribute to family research in Asia by investigating educational variations in retreat from marriage and mate selection in Taiwan.

Methods: This study applied Schoen's (1988) harmonic-mean two-sex marriage propensity approach to nationwide marriage registration data to examine the changing marriage patterns by education in Taiwan between 2000 and 2010.

Results: The findings show that the drop in marriage rates is particularly drastic among the least educated. Marriage has become more prevalent and affordable for better-educated Taiwanese. Additionally, the proportion of educationally homogamous marriages has increased, and the share of female-hypergamous marriages of all heterogamy also increased from 2000 to 2010. Decomposition analyses show that these changes are mainly due to decreased marriage propensities, not to the availability of eligible partners. Educational and sex variations in marriage intentions, gender-role and marriage values, and the changing economic structure and financial well-being of young adults were investigated as potential causes.

Conclusions: Period marriage differentials by education have reversed from negative to positive in post-millennium Taiwan. A continued reliance on men‟s economic resources is also observed. Differences in gender-role values and economic well-being across social groups are plausible reasons for these family changes.

Comments: More research is needed to unravel the impact of education on men and women's family formation prospects and how social inequality may be reinforced and reproduced through matrimony in Asia.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Demographic change and increasing late singlehood in East Asia, 2010–2050
Volume 43 - Article 46

More education, fewer divorces? Shifting education differentials of divorce in Taiwan from 1975 to 2010
Volume 34 - Article 33

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