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 2: The effects of demographic change on marriage and the family in China

Dudley L. Poston


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.

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