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Regional Variation of Lineage Culture and Fertility Transition in Rural China (中国农村生育转变的类型与宗族文化的区域差异)

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Abstract By linking the decline in the total fertility rate since the 1970s and the emergence of an unbalanced sex ratio at birth in different regions, this article defines two main types of fertility transition in rural China—a smooth and balanced fertility transition versus an obstructed and unbalanced fertility transition—and analyzes their regional distribution. The distribution of these two types is related to the regional variation in lineage culture. For historical reasons, village communities of different regions have different social networks and norms associated with lineage institutions. The regional variation with regard to these two types clearly impacts the population planning policy’s degree of control over fertility. It also constitutes the main factor behind different fertility behavior of the villagers of different regions. Mutual interaction of these two factors produces a very interesting spatial distribution of fertility transition in rural China. In the cultural region encompassing South China and the Central Plains, the decline in the fertility rate has lagged behind other regions and a severely unbalanced sex ratio at birth has appeared within the context of a strong lineage culture impacting fertility transition. On the other hand, the Northeast and Southwest China as well as most of the Yangzi River Valley, where the history of the villages is short and lineage culture is weak, have taken the lead in achieving a relatively low fertility rate while maintaining a balanced sex ratio at birth. (This article is in English.) 摘要 本文根据 20 世纪 70 年代以来总和生育率下降与出生性别比失衡在不同区域的组合, 将中国农村生育转变归纳为 “阻滞—失衡型” 生育转变和 “平滑—均衡” 型生育转变等两种类型。生育转变类型与宗族文化的区域差异有关,不同区域村庄社区内部宗族社会网络与宗族规范因为历史原因而存在差异,这两个因素交织在一起,使得中国农村生育转变存在十分有趣的空间分布:在华南以及中原等文化区,在宗族文化及其社会结构的作用下,生育率下降相对滞后,同时出现严重出生性别比失衡;而在村庄历史比较短暂、宗族文化薄弱的东北、西南、长江流域的大部分地区,率先达到较低的生育水平,出生性别比大致保持平衡。


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