Patrilocality and Early Marital Co-residence in Rural China
The story of the rural Chinese family household in the post-Mao period is generally told in one of three ways, which might be labelled modernization, tradition restored, and demographic determinism. Modernization parallels the family theories of classical sociology: economic development and education tend to undermine extended family living arrangements by instilling nuclear family preferences, while the relaxation of migration restrictions allows young men to seek their fortune away from home. “Tradition restored” sees collectivization as having undermined the foundation of the extended family household, the family economy. The return of family farming has, in this view, restored the conditions under which the extended family can flourish. The demographic determinisi view assumes that family preferences persist but that demographic structures change. Rising life expectancies and declining fertility should increase rates of family extension, since smaller families mean that there will be fewer brothers available to live with a surviving parent. Thus as the birth control cohorts come of age, the prevalence of extended households should increase.