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Regional customs and habits

Customs of China

Marriage and Family

ImageHistorically, loyalty to the family unit and the lineage has always been important to the Chinese. Stringent family-planning policies limiting urban Chinese couples to one child have been in practice since the early 1980s. To help the family-planning program succeed, young people are encouraged to wait to marry. In fact, college students are forbidden to marry until after graduation. The sanctioned age for marriage is 22 for men and 20 for women. Those who marry before that age are not eligible for some of the same benefits as those who wait.

Customs of Singapore

Marriage and Family

ImagePeople choose their own spouses in Singapore. It is against the law for couples to live together or have children without being married. Traditionally, all three of the main ethnic groups in Singapore have encouraged large families. This created problems for many because of the limited living space, so in the 1970s the government launched a vigorous family-planning campaign.

The plan encouraged each couple to limit themselves to two children. It had such success that the population growth rate slowed to that of many Western nations and the government began to worry that there would not be enough young people to support the increasing number of old people.

Customs of New Zealand

Marriage and Family

ImageWeddings are often followed by a sit-down meal and dancing. Among those of European origin, families tend to be small, and most own their homes. Many young adults leave for several years to travel and work in other countries (often the United Kingdom). This time abroad is commonly referred to as Overseas Experience, or OE. Even those who emigrate for good tend to retain close contact with their families in New Zealand. There has been an increase in recent years in the number of couples living together without being married, the number of single mothers, and the number of women working outside the home. 44.8 percent (1999)

Customs of Vietnam

Marriage and Family 

ImageTraditionally, marriages were arranged by parents, but now people choose their own partner. On average, men marry at age 25 and women around age 23. The government is trying to reduce population growth through family-planning policies, which include providing incentives for later marriages and smaller families.

Family members maintain strong ties and provide one another with assistance and support as needed. In rural areas it is normal for the extended family to share the same home, while in urban areas it has become more common for only the nuclear family to live together. The average household has six members.

Customs of Australia

Marriage and Family

ImageMany couples live together before or instead of getting married, and there has been an increase in the number of single-parent families. Couples generally marry in their 20s. Church weddings are still the norm.

The average family has two or three children, and Australian family life is similar to family life in western Europe and North America, with many mothers working outside the home. In Australia, women and men are generally treated equally. Women have roughly the same amount of education as men, they earn fairly equal wages, and they occupy important leadership positions in the private and public sectors. Women make up almost half of the workforce.