A study on zodiac preference and taboo in the change of population size in Beijing

MA Yan1

(1.Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

【Abstract】Using the macro data of the newly-born population, this paper explores whether the phenomenon of the zodiac preference and taboo exists in the process of newly-born population size in Beijing. This study is conducted from two levels of direct comparison and index test. According to the results, if we observe this phenomenon from the absolute size and relative size of the newly-born population and the accumulative newly-born population of every zodiac sign, there are two phenomena in the process of the newly-born population change in Beijing. One is the decrease in the newly-born population in the year of the sheep; the other is the decline in the fertility rate of this year. On this basis, we apply the Myer’s Index, the indices of age preference and Whipple’s index to test the zodiac preference and taboo from three perspectives of the whole zodiac signs, the single zodiac sign of a single year, and the cumulative newly-born population of an individual zodiac sign. According to the finding, there exists a slight preference and taboo for all the twelve zodiac signs in the process of the newly-born population size change in Beijing. The zodiac preference for single year mainly happens in the year of the horse and the year of the monkey, which are before and after the year of the sheep respectively, while the zodiac taboo for single year mainly centers on the year of the sheep. Meanwhile, there are stages in the single zodiac preference or taboo. Since reform and opening up, the zodiac preference and taboo begin to emerge and strengthen gradually, and there exists difference between the permanent population and the registered population in Beijing. Hence, when establishing the timing to make and implement the related policies, the influences of the zodiac preference and taboo should be considered.

【Keywords】 change of birth population; zodiac preference; zodiac taboo; index test;


【Funds】 National Social Science Foundation of China (12CRK016).

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    [1]. ① Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics and Survey Office of the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing , 2016, http://www.bjstats.gov.cn/nj/main/2016-tjnj/zk/indexch.htm [^Back]

    [2]. ② Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics and Survey Office of the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing , February 25, 2017 (http://www.bjstats.gov.cn/tjsj/tjgb/ndgb/201702/t20170227_369467.html). [^Back]

    [3]. ③ General fertility rate [^Back]

    [4]. ① In order to make the cumulative newly-born population comparable in terms of the zodiac signs, the years included must be a multiple of 12, and from the year 2016 back to 60 years before in 1957, so the calculations concerning the zodiac cycle do not include the data before 1957. [^Back]

    [5]. ① Since the statistics of the birth data for 2017 has not yet been completed, it may weaken the typicality of the zodiac preference for the year of the monkey and is influenced by the operability of the zodiac preference. The earlier the data are, the less likely they can detect the existence of the preference. [^Back]

    [6]. ① This paper calculates Whipple’s index of Beijing’s newly-born population in terms of two years. The classification of caliber is based on the changing characteristics of Beijing’s population structure. Because the scale of migrants in Beijing has continued to expand after 1978, it may be a classification of the zodiac preference. [^Back]

    [7]. ① Because the calculation requires a complete Chinese zodiac cycle, individual years overlap before and after the actual calculation. [^Back]

    [8]. ① The calculation of the spillover effect assumes that the newly-born population is evenly distributed without the zodiac preference or taboo, and then the value of the year of preference or taboo is compared with the average of the three years. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-3280/C

Vol , No. 06, Pages 36-45+92

November 2017


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Changes in the birth population size of Beijing
  • 3 Verification of the zodiac preference of the newly-born population in Beijing
  • 4 Conclusion and discussion
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