Effects of Family Background upon the Timing of First Marriage in Modern China and Russia

Hongbo Wang, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper addresses the effects of family background on entry into first marriage during early adulthood in modern China and Russia. China and Russia are historically characterized by nuptial systems distinct from that in Western Europe. During the past century, these two countries have experienced dramatic social changes, which have undermined the social foundations of traditional marriage. Using survey data collected in the 1990s, I examine the extent to which the Western pattern of advantaged family background discouraging early marriage holds for modern China and Russia. Findings from a discrete-time survival analysis indicate that both China and Russia, traditionally non-Malthusian societies, now seem to exhibit the U.S. paradigm: youth from privileged social origins are less likely to marry at young ages. Nevertheless, this delaying effect is not necessarily attributed to intergenerational transmission of social status.

  See paper

Presented in Session 90: Global Changes in Marriage and Family