Quality & Quantity

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 1275–1289 | Cite as

Changes in women’s and men’s child care time in China, 2004–2011: the contributions of cohort replacement and intra-cohort change

  • Sibo Zhao


With the rapid social and economic changes in China, increasing attention has been paid to issues related to child care, such as maternal work and child care, child care support sources, and work-family conflict. But the change in women’s and men’s child care time in the last decade remains under-researched. I use cross-sectional data from the 2004–2011 China Health and Nutrition Survey and linear decomposition regression techniques to examine the mechanisms generating structural change in child care time for men and women. I find that overall women’s child care time is slightly decreasing because the contributions of intra-cohort change and cohort replacement are offsetting one another. However, men’s childcare time is increasing during the same time period because of processes of intra-cohort change. Trends in women’s childcare time indicate a positive but small cohort replacement effect, whereas men’s childcare time is largely impacted by a positive intra-cohort change effect. These results highlight the mechanisms through which the gendered division of childcare time inside Chinese families has been shifting in the direction of increasing egalitarianism from 2004 to 2011.


Linear decomposition Cohort replacement Intra-cohort change Child care time 



This research uses data from China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). I thank the National Institute for Nutrition and Health, China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Carolina Population Center (P2C HD050924, T32 HD007168), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NIH (R01-HD30880, DK056350, R24 HD050924, and R01-HD38700) and the NIH Fogarty International Center (D43 TW009077, D43 TW007709) for financial support for the CHNS data collection and analysis files from 1989 to 2015 and future surveys, and the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Ministry of Health for support for CHNS 2009, Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai since 2009, and Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control since 2011.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and PsychologyCentral University of Finance and EconomicsBeijingChina

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