Volume 37 - Article 62 | Pages 1949–1974

Gendered division of domestic work and willingness to have more children in China

By Juhua Yang

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:01 Jun 2016
Date published:15 Dec 2017
Word count:6983
Keywords:China, domestic work, fertility desires
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on “Domestic Division of Labour and Fertility Choice in East Asia” here.


Background: Fertility research in the new century has shifted from how gender equality may suppress fertility to issues of how gender equality in the family may help recover fertility, as low fertility persists among developed countries. In contrast with much of the work in the developed world, little research has been done on China, an East Asian society characterized by extremely low fertility.

Objective: This paper analyzes the link between gender equality at home and fertility among respondents aged 20–40.

Methods: This study uses multiple waves of data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey to address the issue. In this project, we will measure fertility as wanting to have another child. First, we will provide a basic description of fertility intentions and couples’ involvement in domestic work. Then we will use binary logistic models to gauge the link between the extent of equality of engagement in domestic work in a family and their willingness to have another child.

Results: While there is a positive correlation, a husband’s time spent on domestic work is insignificantly connected to fertility desire, all else being equal. A wife’s domestic work is inversely and significantly associated with the desire to have another child only when the child’s sex is not considered. Biological and cultural factors (e.g., age and the sex composition of existing children) are strong predictors of wanting another child.

Contribution: More research is needed to establish an association between gender relations and childbirth in unique cultural and socioeconomic contexts. In China, there is still a restriction on the number of children due to the country’s universal two-child policy, but there has been a resurgence of some traditional gender norms in the process of rapid-pace marketization. This implies more severe discrimination against mothers in the labor market, especially those with more than one child.

Author's Affiliation

Juhua Yang - Renmin University of China, China [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Accuracy of wives' proxy reports of husbands' fertility preferences in sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 46 - Article 17    | Keywords: fertility desires

» The role of premarital cohabitation in the timing of first birth in China
Volume 45 - Article 8    | Keywords: China

» A potential new pattern of pathway to adulthood is emerging in China
Volume 44 - Article 42    | Keywords: China

» Recent trends in the Chinese family: National estimates from 1990 to 2010
Volume 44 - Article 25    | Keywords: China

» The mixed blessing of living together or close by: Parent–child relationship quality and life satisfaction of older adults in China
Volume 44 - Article 24    | Keywords: China


»Volume 37





Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID