【Economist】Social mores : Shacking up
4:19Social mores : Shacking up自英文杂志
A rapid rise in cohabitation does not spell the end of marriage
WHEN Da Lin moved in with his girlfriend two years ago, his mother tried
to stop them: she feared that their living together unmarried would
sully his girlfriend’s reputation and, by association, his too. She will
be happy only after they finally marry next year (his family is buying
the apartment, hers the car). That generational clash is replicated in
thousands of families across China: cohabitation without marriagewas
longanathemaand officially illegal until 2001. Today it is commonplace.
China’s social mores are changing astonishingly quickly. Before 1980
around 1% of couples lived together outsidewedlock, but of those who wed
between 2010 and 2012, more than 40% had done so, according to data from
the 2010 and 2012 China Family Panel Studies, a vast household survey
(see chart). Some reckon even that is an underestimate. A recent study
by the China Association of Marriage and Family, an official body, found
that nearly 60% of those born after 1985 moved in with their partner
before tying the knot, which would put the cohabitation rate for young
peopleon a par withthat of America.
The number of unmarried couples living together is growing for many of
the same reasons it has elsewhere: rising individualism, greater
empowerment of women, the deferral of marriage and a decline in
traditional taboos on pre-marital sex. Greater wealth helps—more couples
can afford to live apart from their parents. Yet Chinese cohabitation
has distinctive characteristics. In rich countries, living together is
most common among poorer couples, but in China youngsters are more
likely to move in together if they are highly educated and live in
wealthy cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.Shacking upis seen as a sign
of “innovative behaviour”, say Yu Xie of Princeton University and Yu Jia
of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Elsewhere rising cohabitation represents thefrayingof marriage: many
couples never bother to wed. In China, however, cohabitation is almost
always a prelude to marriage—as for Da Lin and his girlfriend—rather
than an alternative to it. Marriage is still near-universal, although
theskewedsex ratio resulting from China’s one-child policy and a
cultural preference for boys has resulted in a surplus of poor rural men
who will remain unhappily single. Some highly educated women in
In some Western countries those who live together for an extended period
enjoy some of the same legal rights and obligations as married couples.
In China cohabitation carries no legal weight. And it is very hard for a
child born out of wedlock to acquire ahukou, or residency permit,
which provides access to health care, education or other public
In the 1980s virginity was considered a woman’s chief asset and few
couples dared to date openly, let alone live together. Now China is in
the midst of a sexual revolution—some 70% of people have sex before
marriage, according to a study conducted in 2012. Many young Chinese,
however, still have conservative ideas about how their elders should
behave: although cohabitation is also on the rise among the elderly,
many of them avoid remarrying because their adult children oppose it.
Sep 24th 2016 | From the print edition: China · 527 words
Source: China Daily
Date: June 7, 2017
More people born between 1980 and 1989 are remaining single.
More people born between 1980 and 1989 are remaining single compared to
those who are 10 years older when they were at the same age, a survey
released on Tuesday showed.
1980 至 1989 年中间）维持着单身状态。
Nearly one in five men and one in eight women in the age group have
never married, according to the survey conducted by the Center for
Population and Development Policy Studies at Fudan University and the
university’s Research Center for Dataology and Data Science. The survey
followed 1,200 Shanghai residents born during those years and their
families for the past eight years.
(20%) 的阳、近八分之一 (12.5%) 的女，从未出了婚经历。
In 2005, the ration of men and women between 30 and 34 who remained
unmarried was 12 percent and 7 percent, respectively, according to
法定发布之 2005 年数显示，在 30 至 34 岁人群中，有 12% 的男性未婚，有
“We cannot make a conclusion currently whether some in the age group,
especially those born between 1985 and 1989, are just postponing
marriage or have given up on marriage. We’ll try to find the answer
through the follow-ups,” said Shen Ke, associate professor from the
School of Social Development and Public Policy of Fudan University and
one of the research leaders.
“特定年龄段、尤其是 1985 至 1989
The survey also found 40 percent of those responding cohabitated before
marriage, which used to be taboo in China, a country where people hold
traditionally conservative attitudes toward sex.
Cohabitation contributes to the fact that people are getting married
late, according to the survey report.
“For many, cohabitation is not a substitute for marriage but is a taste
of married life to see whether they enjoy it or not. Roughly 60 percent
of the survey respondents cohabit for no more than half a year, and then
some break up,” Shen said.