Birth Seasonality of China in 1960-2017: Steps toward a Convergence from a Divergence

Cuiling Zhang, China Population and development Research Center
Danyin Wang , China Population and Development Research Center
Xuying Zhang, China Population and Development Research Center
Xu Shuqiang, Asian Demographic Research Institute, Shanghai University

Little research on birth seasonality has been done for China ,especially for the period after the implementation of family planning policies. We present an analysis of birth seasonality in China since 1960 by using various national representative data and demonstrate the difference between parities, urban and rural residence and mother's ethnicity across periods. Unlike the European and American birth seasonal models, China have a unique and significant feature of birth seasonality, with a peak in autumn and winter (October to February ) and a trough in spring and summer (March to August ). Since 1990, as a result of the implementation of family planning policy and the expansion of women's use of modern methods of contraception, seasonal birth patterns have changed dramatically and the average monthly birth amplitudes have gradually decreased. People's self-control is a key factor in explaining seasonal changes. In addition, the pronounced seasonality of first birth is robust, while the second birth and the third follow a less obvious seasonal pattern over time, indicating that higher order of births were more affected by self-driven intervention related to family planning policy. Furthermore, we confirmed the Chinese culture and the holiday effects as well as the family planning policies could alter people’s reproductive behavior and contribute the shaping of birth timing of Chinese people.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course