Diverging Destinies in East Asia

James M. Raymo, Hyunjoon Park, Jia Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Research on diverging destinies provides a compelling and influential framework for understanding relationships between socioeconomic bifurcation in family behavior and inequality within and across generations. Articulations of the diverging destinies framework stress its broad relevance for low-fertility societies, but empirical evaluations in East Asia are limited. We address this gap by summarizing and synthesizing scholarship on socioeconomic differentials in family behavior and relationships between family circumstances and children's well-being in mainland China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. We seek an understanding of how and why the diverging destinies framework is or is not helpful for understanding family change and inequality in societies characterized by a highly asymmetric gender division of labor, strong emphasis on family investment in children, and limited public support for families. This article provides a contextual and empirical basis upon which to build subsequent research on family change and inequality in East Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-463
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - Jul 31 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • East Asia
  • children
  • diverging destinies
  • family
  • gender
  • inequality


Dive into the research topics of 'Diverging Destinies in East Asia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this