Chapter 2 uses demographic transition theory (DTT) to examine how demographic change influences marriage and family in China. It charts China’s progress through the transition, starting when Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China, and carrying through to around 2015. It then discusses the types of changes in marriage and family that are likely to occur in societies that have transitioned to low fertility, focusing specifically on age at first marriage, cohabitation, age at first intercourse, premarital intercourse, masturbation, and unbalanced sex ratios at birth. Chapter 2 presents and analyzes empirical data from China on each of these six features of marriage and family, along with more limited data for the US and a few other countries. It argues that changes in China in the levels and prevalence of these six features of marriage and the family have all been influenced by, or have been a consequence of, the changes in China as it has transitioned from high fertility rates in the 1960s to a very low rate today.
Xiaotian Feng, Dudley L. Poston and Xiaotao Wang
Chapter 11 discusses China’s one-child policy and its effect on the changes in the Chinese family institution. They argue that since 1979, nearly 150 million single children have been born in China due to the ‘one child per family’ policy. It is believed that this generation of only children has dramatically changed the family structure, family relationships, and family lifestyle in China. It has also resulted in problems and issues not previously present in Chinese families, such as smaller families, a simplification of family structure, a shift from parent-centered families to child-centered families, changes in living patterns, and changes in family lifestyle. Also, there has been a decreased base of support for the elderly.