Household Structure Overview
Household structure reflects the family and social structure for a geographic region. Micro level, family structure affects the individual’s family outlook, values and lifestyles. Macro level it maps the labour organisation and community form for society as whole.
Insight analysis and Assumptions
China’s household (family) structure in the past two decades has repeated and condensed the same changes that occurred in most developed countries over one to two hundred years. Industrialisation, economic development, urbanisation, and digitisation encouraged developments in social forms, changing the family structure directly via its impact on individuals.
The most obvious changes in household structure can be summarised in two aspects:
- Clan-style big family pattern replaced by independent small family
- Declining fertility and living alone
Data shows that the average size of China’s households has declined from 3.5 people per household in year 2000 to 2.6 in year 2020. Since 1980s the economic reform, full-scale industrialisation and economic development have accelerated the disintegration of the traditional clan-style family structure. With two decades of birth control (one-child-only) and rapid urbanisation, by the early 2000s, Chinese society has formed the concept of “a traditional family of three”. A couple with a child becomes the most common household type.
During the last decade, in line with urbanisation, more family structures are adopting urban family style. Informatisation and the popularity of using the internet has provided great convenience to people who are living alone. Individuals become less dependent on family. In addition, high property prices, property size tends to be smaller, and declining birth rates have further restrained household size in urban area (see related subjects: Property price(link), Birth rate(link)). In relation to the household structure, these factors created further breakdown in the “traditional family of three”. Both absolute the number and portion for young people (age 20-39) living alone are soaring. Currently (in 2021) the total soho household (single person household) number has reached approximately 100 millions.