Chapter 8: Transitional generations? The contrasting experiences of the 30-somethings in China and Japan
This chapter focuses particularly on the ‘30-somethings’– those who are currently in their 30s, typically born in the mid-1970sto early 1980s – in Japan and China. In any society, this group is of particular interest for several reasons. At this stage in their life-course, people are generally expected to be living independently, probably with a partner, perhaps with a young child or children and with maturing job plans and prospects. Their parents may well be approaching retirement, and they will be in that phase when the intergenerational balance begins to shift. From being dependent on, they will become more depended upon. Housing will be a particularly important factor. The high cost of buying housing and eligibility rules regarding access to social housing may have been a major factor in delaying a move to independent living in relation to cohabiting or marriage and with regard to having children. These interconnections between work, family and housing will, however, vary across different cultures and over time. Norms and expectations will also vary in relation to age of marriage and the pattern of departure from the family home (Forrest and Yip, 2013). Different cohorts of 30-somethingswill also face different socio-economic conditions, different policy regimes and different opportunity structures.
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