Trajectory of marriage and childbearing among urban and rural residents in the context of nearby urbanization

LIU Lige1 LIU Hongsheng2 JIN Xiaoyi2

(1.College of Humanities & Social Development, Northwest A&F University)
(2.School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi’an Jiaotong University)

【Abstract】 This study focuses on the trajectory of marriage and childbearing of urban and rural residents in the context of nearby urbanization. Based on the survey data of County Y, Henan Province, China, this study follows the life course theory to investigate the occurrence time of major marriage and childbearing events of the urban and rural residents, time span between two adjacent marriage and childbearing events, and further reveals the relationship between premarital cohabitation and premarital pregnancy. The survey data are analyzed from three primary perspectives, including the household registration, migration and birth cohort. The research results show that: (1) the traditional trajectory of marriage and childbearing featuring “marriage-cohabitation-pregnancy-childbearing” time sequence is facing real challenges, where premarital cohabitation and premarital pregnancy have become a common social phenomenon, impressively prominent among rural residents with premarital migration experience and the “post-80s” generation; (2) premarital cohabitation has a bearing on delaying the age of first marriage and raising premarital pregnancy risks; (3) and the changes in the marriage and childbearing trajectory of urban and rural residents may pose challenges to women health and to the survival and development of infants.

【Keywords】 life course; trajectory of marriage and childbearing; marriage and childbearing events; premarital cohabitation; premarital pregnancy;


【Funds】 The National Social Science Fund of China (16CRK009)

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    [1]. ① Due to the limit of sample size, the analysis of birth cohort excludes the “post-50s” generation and the “post-90s” generation. [^Back]

    [2]. ② According to the calculations of Fu et al. (2012) and Zhang et al. (2016) both based on the Sixth National Population Census, the average age at first childbirth for Chinese women was between 25.74 and 26.24 in 2010. [^Back]

    [3]. ③ This result is roughly consistent with the result of proportion of premarital cohabitation among the “post-70s” and “post-80s” provided by Yuan et al. (2016) based on the 2010 CFPS data. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-3280/C

Vol , No. 04, Pages 61-71+95-96

July 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Research background
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Data and methodology
  • 4 Results
  • 5 Conclusion and implication
  • Footnote