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Changes in Chinese family structure
Latest Updated by 2006-04-12 11:59:52
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Comparison of statistics of the fifth national census and data of the previous two manifests three tendencies of changes in current Chinese family structure.

First, relatively stable family types represented by those consisting of lineal family members of three generations. Three-generation lineal families in cities are maintained owing to loose inner management while in rural areas such maintenance arises from a larger proportion of the only son.

Second, family types apparently on the rise. The one-child-policy implemented for over two decades is the major impetus for evident growth of the nuclear family type composed of the husband and the wife. Generation-skipping lineal families have grown at the highest rate. Such families not only signify an important phenomenon in a transitional period of the Chinese society, but also reflect deficiencies of China's social development. The number of one-person families is also on the rise. Major factors accounting for such a phenomenon are late marriage of young people, longer life expectancy of the elderly and increasing ratio of aged widows and widowers.

Third, family types showing a declining trend. The number of incomplete nuclear families obviously decreases while that of standard nuclear families also falls slightly. Decline of the latter mainly results from increase of nuclear families composed of the husband and the wife, or different adjustments inside nuclear families. In the future, the structure of Chinese families will generally maintain such a situation and there will be other changes in some family types. Simplified structure and shrinking size of current families lead to changes in family function and relationships among family members, which will ultimately impose some impacts on the whole society.
Editor: Yan

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