Handbook on the Family and Marriage in China
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Handbook on the Family and Marriage in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang and Lucy X. Zhao

This Handbook advances research on the family and marriage in China by providing readers with a multidisciplinary and multifaceted coverage of major issues in one single volume. It addresses the major conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues of marriage and family in China and offers critical reflections on both the history and likely progression of the field.
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Chapter 3: Changes in Chinese urban family structure

Yan Ruth Xia and Anqi Xu

Abstract

Chapter 3 discusses the changing family system in urban China. It shows connectedness and interactions between Chinese urban family structure and different levels of the social contexts and explains cultural, social, and economic forces directly or indirectly influencing the Chinese family. Family structure is viewed as flexible and interactive with its environment. Culture, policy, economy, and housing reform all play a role in shaping the experience of urban Chinese families. The social changes in housing, education, and the job market have brought opportunities, choices, and wealth, but at the same time posed stress to Chinese families during the social transition. Contemporary Chinese family structure is fluid and dynamic, and Chinese family structure has become more diverse with the occurrence of single-person families, single-parent families, as well as families with double income but no children and cohabitant households as living arrangements of choice. These changes both strengthen and challenge the families. The support from the extended family has served as a buffer.

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