A Chinese Second Demographic Transition? A Holistic Approach to Family Life Courses
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OSC Scientific Seminar 2020-2021
Friday, 15th January 2021, 11:30 am / 1 pm (Zoom videoconference)
A Chinese Second Demographic Transition?
A Holistic Approach to Family Life Courses
Zachary Van Winkle
Assistant Professor, Sciences Po - OSC
Family formation in China has undergone dramatic changes. Despite increasing academic attention, no research has taken a holistic approach to study life course. In this study, we assess how family life course patterns, complexity, and diversity have changed across birth cohorts. Moreover, we evaluate whether changing norms or economic constraints are driving cohort differences. Data from the China Family Panel Studies and sequence analysis are applied to identify family life course patterns and calculate sequence complexity and normalized distances. While we found a shift in family life course patterns across nearly a century of birth cohorts, there is no evidence that Chinese family lives have become more complex or diverse. To the contrary, our results demonstrate that family life courses have become less complex and are relatively standardized around marriage and a single child. Rather than a second demographic transition, Chinese family demographic behaviour is marked by continuity despite change.