Trends in Educational Assortative Marriage in China over the Past Century
In the past century, China has undergone very rapid and dramatic social and economic changes. This paper describes trends in educational assortative marriages of cohorts born in 1900-1995 in China. We measure educational attainment relatively by an individual’s percentile position in the education distribution of a ten-year birth cohort and study trends using comparable and easy-to-interpret couple rank-rank correlations. We analyze microdata samples from the 1982, 1990, 2000, and 2010 China Census and the 2015 China Inter-Census Survey, and nationally representative surveys between 1996 and 2018. An overarching finding of our study is a large and steady increase in educational assortative marriage over the past century, except for those born in 1945-1965 whose schooling and marriage were impacted by the Cultural Revolution. Our study highlights the critical roles of social, political, and economic contexts in shaping the nuances of trends in educational assortative marriage.