Miniaturization or Nucleation?: Changes in Family Structure in the 70 Years Since the New China
Social Sciences in China Review
Miniaturization or Nucleation?: Changes in Family Structure in the 70 Years Since the New China (Abstract)
In the 70 years since the founding of New China, the Chinese family structure has tended to be miniaturized in general. However, after the reform and opening up, the trend of nucleation has not been further strengthened; traditional lineal family and households with three generations and more still have a place. The driving forces behind the changes in family structure are not only from urbanization and industrialization but also closely related to factors such as land reform, agricultural collectivization, political movement, living conditions, birth control, and the rural joint contract responsibility system. Comparing the modernization theory on family with the research articles on the changes in family structure in China, we can find that the trend of miniaturization and nucleation is inconsistent across different periods. The nucleation of family structure in the period of land reform and collectivization did not give rise to miniaturization, the miniaturization after the reform and opening up has not been accompanied by further nucleation, and relevant indicators rebounded in the 2015 sample survey data. The family structure did not evolve linearly in the modernization process.