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Changes in the Association between Education and Cohabitation in Post-reform China

Chinese Families: Tradition, Modernisation, and Change

ISBN: 978-1-80071-157-0, eISBN: 978-1-80071-156-3

ISSN: 1530-3535

Publication date: 25 January 2021

Abstract

Purpose: Premarital cohabitation has increased dramatically in China in the last few decades. Past studies have suggested that education is positively associated with premarital cohabitation in China, but how this association changes over time when cohabitation grows from a marginal phenomenon to a popular choice remains unknown. This chapter investigates the changes in the association between education and premarital cohabitation among married individuals in post-reform China.

Design/methodology/approach: Using pooled data from the China Family Panel Studies (2010–2016), logistic regressions are carried out to compare the association between education and premarital cohabitation across three marriage cohorts: 1981–1992, 1993–2001, and 2002–2016.

Findings: Results show that opposite to trends in many Western countries, the positive association between education and premarital cohabitation has not decreased but instead strengthened over time in China. This trend is more consistent for women than men.

Research limitations/implications: The pathways through which education influences cohabitation have not been examined. Moreover, the scope of this research is limited to married individuals and does not include cohabiting experiences that do not lead to marriage. Future research may address this issue when such data become available.

Originality/value: This chapter for the first time examines how the association between education and premarital cohabitation changes over time across different marriage cohorts and whether the diffusion process has happened like what has been observed in Western countries. The findings suggest that China is developing different patterns and trends of demographic changes because of its unique institutional and cultural context.

Keywords

Citation

Wang, W. and Kan, M.-Y. (2021), "Changes in the Association between Education and Cohabitation in Post-reform China", Kan, M.-Y. and Blair, S.L. (Ed.) Chinese Families: Tradition, Modernisation, and Change (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1530-353520210000016002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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