Marriage, Birth and Family Life Among Young Adults in Taiwan

Josef (Kuo-Hsun) Ma, Academia Sinica
Wen-Shan Yang, Academia Sinica
Chin-Chun Yi, Academia Sinica

This study examines family formation among young adults in Taiwan. As a society with the lowest low fertility, marriage and child birth have become significant national issues. Using the longitudinal panel study of Taiwan Youth Project (TYP), we examine mechanisms accounted for the intention of family formation as well as the preferred versus actual timing of entering the first marriage and the first child birth among Taiwanese youth. Since the mean age of first marriage in 2015 was 32.2 for males and 30 for females, the majority of young adults remain single by age 30. The analyses thus focus on young adults from age 20 to 30 in order to capture their realization of or frustration for family formation at this life stage.
Drawing from intergenerational transmission and cultural norms, we propose that family formation among Taiwanese young adults is affected by family experiences since adolescence and reveals gender differences in accordance with the patriarchal culture. For unmarried young adults, their intention of family formation will be compared with their married counterpart. For married couples, the accompanying spousal surveys allow us to clarify factors significant for family formation as well as for marital satisfaction. In addition, earlier family experiences such as parental educational expectation and parents’ relationship during adolescence are expected to produce varying influences on young adult’s family formation.
To be specific, we suspect that parents with higher educational expectation, less traditional norms and conflicting conjugal relations tend to have negative influence on adult children’s timing of first marriage and first birth. These associations are stronger for daughters than sons, for work-class than middle- and upper-class families. The intersection of gender and class on family formation will be delineated. In conclusion, we discuss the implication of different patterns of family formation in the transition to adulthood in Taiwan.

Presented in Session 27: Changing Marriage Patterns and Family Life in Asia. APA Invited Session