Volume 44 - Article 25 | Pages 595–608
Recent trends in the Chinese family: National estimates from 1990 to 2010
|Date received:||23 Jul 2020|
|Date published:||24 Mar 2021|
|Keywords:||childbearing, China, cohabitation, divorce, families, marriage, second demographic transition, social change|
Background: Family in China has experienced drastic changes in the past decades. Yet we have limited knowledge of the trends and patterns of the Chinese family in transition.
Objective: This study provides a systematic documentation of the Chinese family in transition by estimating a variety of indicators of marital and fertility behaviors in China, including the singlehood rate, first marriage age, cohabitation rate, divorce rate, and nonmarital childbirth rate.
Methods: We analyze data from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 China Censuses, the 2005 1% China Population Inter-Census Surveys, and the 2010‒2016 China Family Panel Studies.
Results: The results indicate trends of delays in first marriage age and increases in premarital cohabitation in China. Despite below-replacement fertility, childlessness remains rare among married Chinese couples. In addition, almost all children are born and raised within marriage, with a virtual absence of nonmarital childbearing in China. Although we observe a slight increase in divorce across cohorts, the divorce rate within 10 years in China was much lower than in other East Asian societies.
Conclusions: Our research suggests both continuity and changes in marital and childbearing behaviors in China. The trajectory of family changes in China has not followed those in Western countries.
Contribution: This article documents the most recent Chinese family changes and provides national estimates of family behaviors in China.
Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research
Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research