affordable family formation in china

they’ve got problems with that — especially in urban (read: expensive) areas:

“‘Naked marriages’ on rise in China”

“As costs soar in the cities, more couples in China are opting for ‘naked marriages’ – those without the once-required trappings of a house, a car, and other goods….

“In China’s most prosperous cities, time-honored truths are losing their luster for young adults coping with a very different world from the one their forebears knew.

“Wang Yu, a secretary, and her husband, Wang Lue, a sales engineer for an electronics company in Beijing, were both born after China introduced its one-child policy in 1979. Like couples almost everywhere in the country made up of only-children, they are eligible to have two kids. But they are not going to.

“‘Their thinking is not like their parents’,’ says Feng Xiaotian, head of the sociology department at Nanjing University, who studies young couples made up of only-children. ‘They have the choice but they are just like their whole generation. Sixty percent of them want only one child.’

“For a start, they say, having one child is normal to them, since they were brought up alone. But more important, says Ms. Wang, ‘more children mean more pressure.’ She adds, ‘It’s very expensive to raise a child here.’

“The cost of feeding and clothing a child is nothing compared with the cost of educating him or her in a competitive city like Beijing. Parents know that the road to the best universities begins with the best primary schools, and getting your child into one of those takes connections or money.

“‘I want us to focus on Yoyo and give her the best we can,’ says Ms. Wang. ‘If we had another child we’d have to cut everything we give her in half, and that would not be best for her….’

“His parents, who never had a choice, might have liked more grandchildren. But in fact ‘they are happy we’ve had a child at all,’ laughs Ms. Cao. ‘A lot of our friends don’t want any children.’

“Young urban parents born after 1980 pay more attention to their own well-being than earlier generations did, suggests Professor Feng. ‘They think that a kid’s life occupies a large part of family life, so if they have two their own quality of life will go down.’ Their generation is more than twice as likely as the average Chinese to want only one child, Feng has found.”

oops. i know they’ve got TOO MANY PEOPLE in china, but it’s not good if your best and brightest don’t reproduce much. also not good if they get up and leave the country, a trend that the slitty eye says is too common.

(warning: politically incorrect attempt at a joke >>) hbd chick say china futcha not vely blight. not if they continue down this road, that is.

and here i thought the chinese were being so clever when they banned cousin-marriage in 1981.

unrelated footnote: i learn from wikipedia this lovely evening (see – wikipedia can be informative!) that the chinese attempted to ban cousin-marriage at least once before in their history:

“There were also some periods in Chinese history where all cousin marriage was legally prohibited, as law codes dating from the Ming Dynasty attest. However, enforcement proved difficult and by the subsequent Qing Dynasty the former laws had been restored.”

even without understanding biology or genetics, many peoples have concluded that too much cousin-marriage is a bad idea. i don’t know what the reasoning was during the ming dynasty era (but i shall endeavor to find out), but i’ll betcha it had something to do with wanting to put the brakes on the ability of some families/clans to keep their wealth to themselves.

(note: comments do not require an email. yo-yo.)

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9 Comments

  1. Problem is those Chinese who leave think family formation is affordable abroad. Big surprise they’ll get when their kids grow up.

    State welfare makes us all poor. Families aren’t affordable anywhere nowadays.

    Reply

  2. we should not be surprised, this is one of the oldest problems of civilization. Polybius was writing about it long time ago, and Augustus Caesar passed legislature to try to reverse the trend. (spoiler: it didn’t work)

    Reply

  3. In places where keeping your head above water is so hard as it appears to be in Shanghai, what would be the genetic effect after generations of only children of only children of only children and so on. What would fitness be? Would it inevitably be a propensity to have one child? Shaker lite?

    Reply

  4. @luke – “what would be the genetic effect after generations of only children of only children of only children and so on.”

    yeah, i dunno. you would think with generation after generation of only children that there should be less variation within the population — fewer individuals, fewer combinations of genes. less variation for natural selection to work upon. i don’t know what the consequences of that might be.

    still, they do have … what? … 1.3, 1.4 billion people to work with. must be lots of variation there!

    Reply

  5. me nota big fan pee cee, but yu shood know mol than that. is not chinese who confuse rettel l and rettel r, is japanese!

    Reply

  6. @ “still, they do have … what? … 1.3, 1.4 billion people to work with. must be lots of variation there!” Well, true, and in the long run population would fall to a point where having children would become more advantageous and population would stabilize or start to go back up I presume. Equilibrium via supply and demand. However, the time-scale would be so long, I would imagine, in terms of population genetics — how many generations ? — as to be historically meaningless. Or maybe I am wrong and the feedback would be more continuous.

    Reply

  7. @sfg – “is not chinese who confuse rettel l and rettel r, is japanese!”

    heh! (^_^)

    are you sure the chinese don’t have problems with “l” and “r,” too (slitty eye, what do you say?). ’cause when i was in southeast asia, i had to make sure to order a “splite” wherever i went, otherwise the wait staff would look at me with a quizzed look — so it’s not just the japanese.

    Reply

  8. @luke – “However, the time-scale would be so long, I would imagine, in terms of population genetics — how many generations ? — as to be historically meaningless. Or maybe I am wrong and the feedback would be more continuous.”

    when i grow up, i want to be a population geneticist. then maybe i’ll be able to answer those questions. (~_^)

    Reply

  9. China is urbanizing rapidly, and urbanization leads to demographic sinks. The whole world generally is urbanizing. Urbanization results in the loss of biological independence for the previously agrarian (or pastoral, hunter-gatherer, etc.) base. The population becomes biologically dependent on civilization. Similar thing happened in the US, which used to be around 90% rural less than 100 years ago. The suburbs are considered something different but in reality they are also urbanization since in suburbs people depend on civilization for basic livelihood, food, etc.

    Reply

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