Stockholm University
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Spousal migration, intergenerational co-residence, and the non-migrant husbands’ and wives’ housework time in rural China

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posted on 2024-05-21, 07:26 authored by Weiwen Lai, Yuying Tong

For married couples who do not migrate together in rural China, their households are split spatially, with one migrant spouse and another non-migrant spouse staying behind in the place of origin. This study examines how having a migrant spouse impacts non-migrant husbands’ and wives’ housework time and the moderating role of co-resident parents in this migration context. Using longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1997-2015) and individual fixed effect models, this study finds that spousal migration has a gendered impact on the non-migrant spouse’s housework time. Having a migrant wife increases her non-migrant husband’s housework time, but having a migrant husband neither increases nor decreases his non-migrant wife’s housework time. This study also finds that the relationship between spousal migration and the non-migrant spouse’s housework time is moderated by the intergenerational co-residence between married couples and their parents or parents-in-law, which is also a gendered household process. While living in intergenerational households alleviates non-migrant husbands’ increases in housework time, its moderating role is the opposite for non-migrant wives: facing a migrant husband, non-migrant wives do more housework if they live in intergenerational households. This study has highlighted the gendered household process of redistributing housework due to having a migrant spouse, which arises from the gendered and intergenerational division of household labor in China.


The National Institute for Health (NIH)

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, R01 HD30880 and R01 HD38700)

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) for R01 AG065357, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK, R01 DK104371 and P30 DK056350)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI, R01 HL108427)

The NIH Fogarty grant (D43 TW009077)

The Carolina Population Center (P2C HD050924 and P30 AG066615)

The China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Ministry of Health (CHNS 2009)

The Chinese National Human Genome Center at Shanghai

The Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control




Original title

Spousal migration, intergenerational co-residence, and the non-migrant husbands’ and wives’ housework time in rural China

Original language

  • English

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