Determinants of Marriage Timing and Prevalence in Northeast China, 1749-1912

Shuang Chen, University of Michigan
Cameron D. Campbell, University of California, Los Angeles
James Z. Lee, University of Michigan

We examine marriage in Liaoning and Heilongjiang in Northeast China between 1749 and 1909. We extend on previous analysis of the influence of household and family context on the timing of male first marriage in Liaoning in several ways. First, we carry out what to our knowledge is the first quantitative analysis of the determinants of female first marriage for a historical Chinese population. Second, we compare the importance of socioeconomic status, institutional context, and family and kin organization in shaping marriage chances. Through application of discrete-time event history analysis to a large database of life histories constructed from household registers, we show that category of institutional affiliation was an important determinant of marriage chances, alongside individual and family socioeconomic status. We conclude with an assessment of the implications for marriage patterns in China of hypergamy, arranged marriage, and widow and widower remarriage.

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Presented in Session 47: Family Change in Historical Perspective