Child and Youth Well-being in China  book cover
1st Edition

Child and Youth Well-being in China

ISBN 9780367670368
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
170 Pages

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Book Description

The true measure of any society is how it treats its children, who are in turn that society’s future. Making use of data from the longitudinal Chinese Family Panel Studies survey, the authors of this timely study provide a multi-faceted description and analysis of China’s younger generations. They assess the economic, physical, and social-emotional well-being as well as the cognitive performance and educational attainment of China's children and youth. They pay special attention to the significance of family and community contexts, including the impact of parental absence on millions of left-behind children.

Throughout the volume, the authors delineate various forms of disparities, especially the structural inequalities maintained by the Chinese Party-state and the vulnerabilities of children and youth in fragile families and communities. They also analyze the social attitudes and values of Chinese youth. Having grown up in a period of sustained prosperity and greater individual choice, the younger Chinese cohorts are more independent in spirit, more open-minded socially, and significantly less deferential to authority than older cohorts.

There is growing recognition in China of the importance of investing in children’s future and of helping the less advantaged. Substantial improvements in child and youth well-being have been achieved in a time of growing economic prosperity. Strong political commitment is needed to sustain existing efforts and to overcome the many obstacles that remain. This book will be of considerable interest to researchers of Chinese society and development.

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures


1. Introduction 

2. The Institutional and Policy Context

3. Economic Well-being

4. Physical Well-being

5. Psychological and Social Well-being

6. Cognitive Development and Educational Attainments

7. Community and Family

8. Youth Values and Attitudes

9. Migration and Parental Absence for Left-Behind Children

10. Parental Absence and Child Development Outcomes

11. Conclusion


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Lijun Chen, Senior Researcher, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, USA.

Qiang Ren, Associate Professor of Sociology, Co-PI of CFPS, Peking University, China.

Dali L. Yang, William C. Reavis Professor of Political Science and the College, the University of Chicago, USA.

Di Zhou, Ph.D. Student, Department of Sociology, New York University, USA.




"The well-being of youth in China is a critical issue for the future of China and the world. Despite the miraculous rise of the Chinese economy, most children from rural backgrounds are still raised in a very challenging environment, and their human capital is not sufficiently developed. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of this issue and will likely have a huge impact for policy consideration." -- James Jianzhang Liang, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chairman of Ctrip.