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TABLE 8-1 Population of 15- to 24-Year-Olds, 2002



World Total

Percentage of: Less Developed Country Total



More developed countries



Less developed countries







NOTE: Census Bureau definitions of “More Developed” and “Less Developed” are employed here.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census (2002).

ducing data sources, we discuss educational policies and the changing educational opportunities available to adolescents. Next, we discuss youth employment and the changing economic backdrop in which employment occurs. We then provide an overview of family formation changes, considering marriage and childbearing. Finally, we consider persisting and new health issues facing adolescents. We close the chapter by synthesizing patterns and trends in each of these domains, placing them in the context of broader social changes in reform-era China.


We draw on a variety of sources of information. To document policies, we employ reports and policy documents issued by Chinese government offices and a variety of secondary sources, including English- and Chinese-language analyses of economic and social policy problems in the reform era. To trace patterns and changes empirically, we draw on several sources of aggregate data, including census data from the National Statistical Bureau of China, demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base, education data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, and education, marriage, and health data from the United Nations Millennium Indicators and the United Nations Common Database. To investigate attitudes about sexuality, we employ tabulated survey data from the 1997 National Reproductive Health Survey (Jiang, 2000). Finally, where possible, we complement aggregate data with our own tabulations of individual-level data on education, employment, and marriage from adolescent and young adult cohorts in the 1989 and 1997 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), a multipurpose panel survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine and the Institute of Nutrition

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