Chinese Health and Family Life Survey

Principal Investigators

  • William Parish, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago
  • Edward O. Laumann, Ph.D., George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago

Institution: The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC)

Research Team

The CHFLS is a collaborative project of the University of Chicago/NORC; Renmin University, Beijing; Peking Union Medical College, Beijing; and the University of North Carolina.

  • From the University of Chicago/NORC: William Parish and Edward O. Laumann (PIs); Gracia Liu Farrer, James Farrer, Heather Heaviland, Melissa Kew, Fang Li, Ye Luo, Kwai Hang Ng, Elena Obukhova, Tianfu Wang, Shirley Yee, and Zhiyuan Yu (UC); Fay Booker, Michael Cooke, Bernard Dugoni, and Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh (NORC).
  • From Renmin University: Suiming Pan, Xilai Shi, Daping Guo, Aili Wang, Xin Cai, and other interviewers.
  • From Peking Union Medical College: Heyi Zheng.
  • From the University of North Carolina: Myron Cohen.

Funding Support

Primary support was provided by grant RO1 HD34157 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Additional support was provided by grant P30 HD18288 to the University of Chicago from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Population Research Center; grant P30 AI50410 to the University of North Carolina from the National Institutes of Health Fogarty Center; grant D43 TW01039 to the University of North Carolina from the National Institutes of Health Center for AIDS Research; and grant U19 AI31496 to the University of North Carolina from the National Institutes of Health STD Cooperative Research Center. Abbott Laboratories donated the ligase chain reaction testing device.

Topical Areas

The survey focuses on sexual behavior in contemporary Chinese society. There are 18 sections: Demography; Health; Attitudes toward Marriage and Sex; Marital Status; Current Spouse/Sex Partner; Sex Partners; Other Long Term Partner; Short Term Partner; Initial Partner; Sexual Dysfunction; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Childhood Sexual Experience; Sexual Harassment and Unwanted Sex; Sexual Consumption; Masturbation and Homosexuality; Conclusion; and Interviewer Comments.

Population Surveyed

Interviews were conducted between 1999 and 2000 in 18 widely dispersed provinces -- Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, Henan, Shandong, Hunan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Fujian, and Guangdong. For sampling performance information, see the following links.


Contemporary China is on the leading edge of a sexual revolution, with tremendous regional and generational differences that provide unparalleled natural experiments for analysis of the antecedents and outcomes of sexual behavior. This study provides a baseline from which to anticipate and track future changes, thus providing opportunity for a public health benefit as well as scholarly return. Specifically, this study produces a baseline set of results on sexual behavior and disease patterns, using a nationally representative probability sample. It is one of the first omnibus studies of sexual behavior in a developing country. Topical areas include childhood sexual contact, intimate partner violence, forced sex, sexual harassment, body image concerns, sexual well-being, and sexually transmitted diseases and risk behavior.

Survey Questionnaire



Technical questions about the data or documentation should be referred to the Data Archive at the Social Science Reasearch Computing Center at the University of Chicago,

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