Are high marriage expenses delaying age at first marriage? Evidence from Chinese rural migrant men. By: Jin, Xiaoyi; Teng, Jiaxuan; Duan, Zhuqing and Sun, Beibei. 2024. Family Relations. Vol. 73 Issue 1, p520-540.

Objective: The goal of the paper is to discover the dynamic features of rural men’s age at first marriage, and to explore impacts of marriage expenses on men’s age at first marriage in rural China amid a rapid urbanization and sociodemographic transition. Background: Given the rapid urbanization and sociodemographic transition, changes in rural men’s marriage timing and its influencing mechanism in China are emerging but remain under examined. Method: The data were collected by the New Urbanization and Sustainable Development research group from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2018 (n = 1,391). Regression models were used to explore the influence of men’s marriage expenses and regional economic factors on their age at first marriage. Results: The relationship between squared total marriage expenses of rural migrant men and their age at first marriage shows as a U‐shaped curve. Conjugal matching, family, premarital migration, and regional economy play important roles for rural men entering their first marriages. Conclusion: Compared with the age‐appropriate married men, the early and late married men tend to have higher marriage expenses. Men with more economic resources are capable of seizing high‐qualified women at a younger age, whereas men with less economic resources need to pay more for their first marriage at an older age. Fathers’ lower social class and regional economy significantly delay men’s age at first marriage. Implications: This study reveals marriage expense is another important factor influencing men’s first marriage entry in rural China and provides a clue to solve difficulties of rural men getting married, especially in societies with ongoing rapid urbanization and sociodemographic transition.