Family Life in China


The family unit in China is very involved. The differences between Chinese family life and the American family life is starkly different, though relatable. Both play integral parts of life. Though, adulthood interactions can vary a lot. To showcase, this post will focus on the aspects of relationships and familial housing.

In the United States, the general essence of living involves independence and self-sufficiency. This ability is encouraged as children grow up and crucial for adults. The age of weening will vary, but the basic principle is similar. People branch off from their original family unit as they cross into adulthood. Though, in recent times, young homeowner numbers are diminishing, but it’s still common (according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago). More commonly, it is the single person who is the basic unit of society. In individualistic cultures such as this, there is a high focus placed on being an individual.

The Chinese culture is a collectivist culture. This means there is a focus on interdependency. In China, the family unit stays together for a much longer period. The family lives and choices are made through many voices and opinions based on how the decisions will affect the community. Families will live in the same household and take care of each other. The young take care of their elders as they age and the elders will take care of the young as the parents work. In general, the family is the primary unit of society. An individual lives to help their family unit.

In recent times, some Chinese communities have adopted some aspects of Western culture. This is common in the big cities. Young people might live a bit more individualistically in ways such as living on their own in an apartment or moving to another country, such is the case with Yamei, a young adult attending an American University.

Yamei was kind enough to provide insight. It was a shock at first to leave her homeland and live in the United States. Living away from her family was difficult at first. After a while, she got used to living on her own and became accustomed to the American culture. However, she still misses her family.

Submitted by Conan McEnroe

(pdf article about housing ownership in the United States – http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/2009/wp2009_01.pdf)

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