Age of Transition to Parenthood Among Married Adults: Social Determinants and Gender Difference

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 12:15 PM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Yuying TONG , Sociology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Martin PIOTROWSKI , The University of Oklahoma
Yueyun ZHANG , Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Using retrospective life history data from the 2008 Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) and event history analysis, this study investigated the timing of transition to parenthood for both adult males and females for marriage cohorts spanning from 1965 to 2008. Within the neoclassical economic and second demographic transition frameworks, we expect that there will be a trend toward delayed childbearing and a lengthening of the duration between marriage and first child bearing across the cohorts. However, we found that a shortening trend of marriage-first child interval across cohorts, and the more recent cohorts are more likely to transit into parenthood net of other effects. We also found that higher educated people are more likely to transit into parenthood earlier than those who have primary or no education. We speculate that the trend in China contradicts the tendency for delayed parenthood in Western countries due to the resistance to change the traditional childbearing norm of “earlier parenthood after marriage.” This is because child rearing is an issue involving extended families, rather than couples’ own independent decision. Under the one-child policy, extended families can pool more human and financial resources that they utilize for childbearing. We also speculate that increasing intimacy between newly married couples in the more recent cohorts contributed to this trend.