Hukou intermarriage in China: Patterns and trends

Ching Wu Lake LUI

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Most studies on intermarriage between groups rely on the prevalence of intermarriage to assess social boundaries. Yet the characteristics underlying the intermarriage pairings are seldom examined. In this study, I analyze intermarriage across hukou, China’s household registration status of designating people as “rural” or “urban” categories based on parents’ place of origin. Using Chinese General Social Surveys, I show that the intermarriage pairings do not follow the patterns of endogamous marriage across three marriage cohorts. Rather, intermarriages build on group inequalities based on hukou in which urban hukou holders are able to marry more educated rural spouses because of their urban status advantage even after controlling for the general likelihood of intermarriage, educational homogamy, and marginal differences in education between rural and urban hukou holders. However, such a status exchange relationship has weakened in the recent marriage cohort, implying a gradual blurring of hukou boundaries. Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-137
JournalChinese Sociological Review
Issue number2
Early online dateDec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Lui, L. (2017). Hukou intermarriage in China: Patterns and trends. Chinese Sociological Review, 49(2), 110-137.


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