Gender and ethnic variation in arranged marriages in a Chinese city

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-638
Journal / PublicationJournal of Family Issues
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


Using a data set (N = 1,600) collected in the city of Urumchi in 2005, this article examines ethnic differences in arranged marriages in urban China. Data analysis shows a rapid decline in parental arrangement for both Uyghur Muslims and Han Chinese in Urumchi. Han Chinese are less likely than Uyghur Muslims to report arranged marriages, with main background characteristics being controlled. However, the differences between Uyghur men and Han men fade away when background characteristics are controlled, whereas no similar patterns are found among women. These findings indicate that Uyghur women have a lower degree of autonomy in the marriage market than their Muslim brothers do. These findings suggest a new interpretation of the effect of ethnic culture and status attainment on intergroup differences in marriage. They also call for a partial revision of a convergence model and an ethnic culture model for research on marriage in developing societies. © 2008 Sage Publications.

Research Area(s)

  • Ethnicity, Gender, Islam, Marriage, Uyghur Muslims