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China–IndiaPathways of Economic and Social Development$
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Delia Davin and Barbara Harriss-White

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265673

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265673.001.0001

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The Social Consequences of Demographic Change in China

The Social Consequences of Demographic Change in China

(p.95) 5 The Social Consequences of Demographic Change in China

Delia Davin

British Academy

China, like India, has experienced rapid demographic change in recent decades. Combined with the dramatic economic growth which started with the introduction of market-orientated economic reforms from the late 1970s, demographic change has had enormous impacts on Chinese society, marriage, family relations and family building. This paper starts with a general overview of the ‘planks’ of this demographic change: rising life expectancy and lowered fertility, the distorted child sex ratio, and migration and urbanisation. It then moves on to a discussion of some of the consequences of these changes focusing on marriage, the shortage of brides and marriage finance; the implications of lowered fertility for women; and population aging and its challenge to the intergenerational contract. Marriage migration is discussed both in the context of the shortage of brides, and as one of the changes especially affecting women.

Keywords:   China, demographic change, fertility, son preference, sex ratio, marriage market, bride shortage, demographic dividend, population aging

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