Social and political assortative mating in urban China

Xiaohe Xu, Jianjun Ji, Yuk Ying Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Using survey data from urban China, the rigidity of the status hierarchy and the importance of status-group boundaries in the process of mate selection are explored. Specifically, the patterns of assortative mating by sociopolitical characteristics are examined. Statistical analyses show three important findings. First, the log-linear models uniformly indicate that, despite a strong tendency toward status homogamy, urban Chinese couples are also mismatched symmetrically. Second, when mismatches occur, marriage prospects tend to marry partners from adjacent status groups. Third, although the systems of union formation and status hierarchies have undergone enormous transformations since 1949, the "crossing models" do not reveal parallel and significant changes in assortative mating. It is concluded that neither the socialist transformation in the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s nor the recent economic reforms have changed the patterns of assortative mating in urban China. Status homogamy remains a dominant social norm and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-77
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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