The Transition to First Marriage in China, 1966-2008: A Life Course Approach

Martin Piotrowski, University of Oklahoma
Yuying Tong, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
Yueyun Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
Lu Chao, University of Oklahoma

Using retrospective life history data from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) and national data from the World Bank World Development Indicators, this study examines the entrance into first marriage in China, a country experiencing profound social and economic changes in the past several decades. We use the life course framework to examine the embeddedness of lives within historical time and geographic place. We find differences for men and women in the effects of age and education on marriage consistent with the broad East Asian cultural norm for women to “marry up.” We also find effects attributable to unique features of the Chinese socio-historic institutional context, such as the rural/urban differences and effects of the household registration (hukou) system. Related to life course timing, we also observe the delaying effect of educational enrollment and attainment.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households