IS MARRIAGE IN DECLINE? A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF PERCEPTIONS OF YOUNG PEOPLE ON MARRIAGE IN HONG KONG, CHINA

Tabitha Ng

Abstract

The traditional family seems to be fragmenting in many parts of the world. In Hong Kong, China, young people’s perception on marriage seems changing rapidly. The objective of this paper is to examine the young adults’ perceptions on marriage in the global world of late modernity where conditions of risks and uncertainties require careful illumination. A purposive sample of 10 young people was interviewed. Themes that emerged included normal aspect of the life course to get married, acceptance of other lifestyle options, female respondents more worried about prospects of finding a partner, delaying marriage because of uncertainties associated with transitions from school to work and suggestions for a better transition to young adulthood in family building. The findings revealed insights on the perceptions of Hong Kong Chinese young people on marriage in the transition to adulthood and in a context of global and local culture in late modernity. Practical measures to facilitate a better transition to young adulthood were discussed in the paper as well. The insights from this study inform policy makers and interested parties who together can jointly map out appropriate interventions to assist young people in their transition to adulthood.

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