Chinese society has experienced a dramatic change over the past several decades, which has had a profound impact on its household system. Utilizing the Chinese national census and 1% population survey data from 1982 to 2015, this study demonstrates the transition of the Chinese household structure through typology analyses. Five typical regional household structure types—large lineal, large nuclear, small nuclear, mixed lineal, and small and diverse—are identified. Our findings demonstrate that since the 1980s, the household system in almost all Chinese regions has evolved from a large unitary model to a small diversified one. However, this evolutionary path diverged after 2000 and formed two distinct household structure systems. There are also significant regional differences in the transition trajectory. Influenced by developmental, cultural, and demographic factors, the regions exhibit four distinct transition paths: lineal tradition, nuclear retardation, smooth transition, and fast transition. On the basis of these results, we discuss family modernization and other theories in explaining the transition of the Chinese household structure.

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