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Family life in modern China(3)

Posted by Author on August 26, 2006

Marijke van der Meer, Radio Netherlands, 22-08-2006– (cont’d)


In contrast to the rural population, young educated urban professionals are facing very different problems when it comes to marriage and family life. With the increased privatisation of education, health care and care for the elderly, they are under enormous pressure to get excellent grades, to get into university and compete for good jobs. That means postponing marriage until they can afford to buy an apartment and provide well for a child. The average marrying age is now 28 for men, 27 for women.

Chinese citizens are required by law to care for their elderly parents, and being an only child adds to the pressure. At the same time, surveys show that 40 percent of men and 47 percent of women disagree with the idea of raising a child for one’s own security. Melody Lu believes the emotional aspect of parenthood is gaining ground over considerations of economic security.

Nuclear norm

The nuclear family is quickly becoming the norm, especially in the cities, where 60 percent of families consist only of parents and children. Extended families, including all one’s cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles, get together to renew their bonds at least once a year, especially during the Chinese Spring Festival. The first generation of offspring born under the one-child policy still have aunts and uncles and cousins, but many of their children will not. (to be cont’d…)

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