Impact of Family Background upon the Timing of First Marriage in Contemporary China and Russia

Hongbo Wang, University of California, Los Angeles

Great scholarly attention has over decades been devoted to the association between social origin and marriage age among populations. As the current research will indicate, it is theoretically rewarding to investigate whether the pattern of youth from better-off background featuring delayed marriage consistently observed in the United States applies to China and Russia as well. The latter, sharing the common system of early and universal female marriages in history and arguably similar experiences of communism in the recent past, represent two distinctive contexts different from the West regarding nuptiality. I will address the questions how family background affects the timing of first marriage in contemporary China and Soviet Russia as compared with the United States, and whether the effects are different, or alike, between the two societies. Such comparative work will contribute to a more general understanding of the relationship between social origin and individual transition to family formation.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility, Family Planning, Unions, and Sexual Behavior