Marriage and Fertility in China: A Lexis-Surface Analysis

Yi, Z., Vaupel, J.W., & Yashin, A.I. (1985). Marriage and Fertility in China: A Lexis-Surface Analysis. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-85-070

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Patterns of marriage and fertility in China have changed rapidly over the last three decades. Fertility has dramatically declined, especially before age 20 and after age 30. Marriage remains virtually' universal, but the age of first marriage, previously concentrated between ages 16 and 20, has shifted upward to between ages 20 and 25. These trends were sharply punctuated by marriage and fertility booms and slumps associated with the disturbances of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Thus, strong age, period, and cohort fluctuations, some transient and others persistent, interact to produce a complex mosaic of turbulent demographic change.

Coale masterfully analyzed these patterns of change. Here we supplement Coale's analysis by presenting and discussing some shaded contour maps of various surfaces of Chinese marriage and fertility rates. As discussed in detail elsewhere, such maps permit visualization of population surfaces defined over age and time and offer a panoramic view of the interaction of age, period, and cohort variations. Because the use of shaded maps of population surfaces is implicit in one of Lexis' original diagrams, and because the term Lexis surface is increasing being used to refer to surfaces of demographic rates defined over age and time, the shaded contour maps presented here might be called Lexis maps. An early instance of the use of contour maps (without shading) may be found in Delaporte's pioneering comparison of trends in age-specific mortality rates in various European countries.

The data used to construct the Lexis maps are from China's one-per-thousand fertility survey conducted in 1982; the total sample size was a bit more than one million. The principle information gathered in the survey, which covered all of China except Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, comprised detailed marriage and fertility histories of more than 300 thousand women aged 15 to 67, gathered through face-to-face interviews. This information was then used to reconstruct the pattern of age-specific fertility rates in China from 1940 through 1981 and the pattern of age-specific first-marriage rates from 1950 through 1981. For both fertility and first-marriage rates, an urban vs. rural breakdown was also published for 1950 through 1981.

Coale and several other analysts have scrutinized the quality of the data and conclude that the data are reasonably reliable and give a generally accurate representation of the evolving age-specific patterns of Chinese marriage and fertility. Coale used the survey data to construct a set of estimates of age-specific proportions of women ever married. We use these estimates, but otherwise the maps we present are based directly on the original data....

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:55
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:12

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