The Panel Study of Family Dynamics (PSFD), initiated in 1999 under the leadership of Academician Cyrus C. Y. Chu, is a long-term project funded by the National Science Council and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Originally, the project was under the auspices of the Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica. In 2003, when the Tsai Yuan-Pei Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences was established in Academic Sinica for interdisciplinary research, PSFD was transferred to be administrated by the Research Program for the Study of Family in Chinese Societies (RPSFCS) at the research center, funded mainly by Academia Sinica. In 2004, the Tsai Yuan-Pei Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences and the Sun Yat-Sen Institute for Social Sciences and Philosophy were merged into the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences (RCHSS), under which RPSFCS was maintained as one of the research programs. From 2013, due to the internal reorganization of RCHSS, RPSFCS has become a project under the Center for Survey Research (CSR), with its name changed to the Project for the Study of Family in Chinese Societies (PSFCS).

In the beginning stage of PSFD, the targeted sample was the adult population of Taiwan. The core topics of the questionnaire of the panel survey were the interactive relationships and behaviors of the respondents and their family members. Starting in 2000, the sample has been expanded to the children of the above-mentioned respondents. The first wave and the follow-up surveys for the main respondents and their children are conducted by face-to-face interview. After the setup in Taiwan was rather stable, PSFCS further engaged in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, extending the survey to southeast coastline areas in China. By collecting data across the Taiwan Strait, it is expected that the datasets will be vital research materials for studies on Chinese families, especially for cross-regional comparative studies.

The PSFD surveys conducted in Taiwan and China are introduced below in detail. Additionally, the release, usage, and promotion of survey data will be introduced.


1. Taiwan Survey

In 1999, the first face-to-face interview of PSFD was conducted to collect data from randomly sampled individuals born in 1953-64. Refreshment samples of adult respondents born in 1935-54, 1964-76, 1977-83, and 1984-91 were first interviewed in 2000, 2003, 2009, and 2016 respectively. These follow-up surveys for these five groups of main respondents were conducted annually before 2012. Since 2012, these follow-up surveys have been conducted every two years. The core contents of the follow-up questionnaire (Questionnaire R) include the respondentˇ¦s demographic traits, work status and job information, marital status and spousal information, demographic traits of parents and parents-in-law, interaction with family members, housing and living arrangement, income and expenditure, and childbearing and rearing information.

The parent-child relationship is one of the most important intra-family relationships. In the questionnaire of the main respondent, there are many question items regarding his or her children, including the demographic characteristics, work conditions, living arrangement, and the interaction between the main respondent and his/her children. To establish more comprehensive two-generational data, the surveyed sample has been extended to the young children of the main respondents since 2000. When the children were aged between 16 and 24, they were re-interviewed biennially using Questionnaire C. When the children come to the age of 25, they are treated as main respondents and interviewed using the first-wave questionnaire of the main respondents (Questionnaire RCI). After that, the children are re-interviewed using the same questionnaire as the main respondents (Questionnaire R) and traced annually. To lessen the interviewing burden, since 2012 the follow-up survey of the main respondents (Questionnaire R) is conducted on a biennial basis, at the same time as Questionnaire C and Questionnaire RCI.

Of the five groups of main respondents, the numbers of complete interviews of the first-wave survey conducted in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2009, and 2016 were 999, 1,960, 1,152, 2,182, and 1,972 respectively. In 2018, their corresponding numbers of complete interviews were 468, 804, 527, 1,418, and 1,576. In the same year, the number of complete interviews for the sample of children was 2,153 in total, of which 1,631 cases were interviewed by Questionnaire R, and the rest (522 cases) by Questionnaire C.

Starting from 2002, in order to offer scholars out of this research team the opportunities to add question items of interest, a call for questions has been announced for each upcoming survey. Each application is reviewed thoroughly by the project participants in terms of the academic value of the subject, the contents of the questions, and the suitability of the questions to the whole questionnaire. For those who are interested in the application and review procedures, please refer to the website of SRDA.


2. China Survey

Based on the research intention of comparing Chinese families across Taiwan Strait, in 2003 the project collaborated with the Institute of Population and Labor Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IPLE-CASS) to conduct a face-to-face interview of adults aged 25-68 in Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Fujian. The contents of the questionnaire were basically the same as the counterparts of Taiwan, with only slight changes to accommodate cross-Strait differences in vocabulary and script, and some questions added according to the research interest of IPLE-CASS. Owing to SARS, implementation of the survey was delayed to the latter half of 2004. The number of complete interviews is 4,684, with Shanghai, Zhejiang and Fujian being 903, 1,856 and 1,925, respectively.

The follow-up surveys in Mainland China were conducted in 2006, 2011, 2013, and 2017 respectively. The number of complete interviews is 3,535 in 2017. The next wave of follow-up survey isn scheduled in 2019.


3. Data Release and Data Promotion

Based on the ideology of data sharing, the PSFD survey data is publicly released after data verification. The data collected in Taiwan have been released from the 1999 to 2016 surveys. The 2018 survey data are under verification, and will be released soon. The 2004 and 2013 survey data of China have been released.

The data are released through the channel of the Survey Research Data Archive (SRDA) ( at the Center for Survey Research (CSR) of the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia Sinica. When data are released, the news will be announced on both the websites of PSFD and SRDA, and will be posted on the E-newsletter of SRDA. The file contents of released datasets contain blank questionnaires, codebooks, raw data (in SAS STATA, and SPSS formats). Those who would like to use the data need to apply for SRDA membership first. After approval, they can get access to the data on the SRDA website. After the data are released, SRDA will keep maintaining them and correcting possible errors, and sporadically updating raw data and relevant documents. The update news will be posted through the above-mentioned channels.

In order to let researchers access the rich data more easily, SRDA is now constructing a user-friendly data download system. In the near future, it is expected that researchers can use the newly built system to download the desired data. Before this system is established, researchers are welcome to contact the staff of SRDA with any data usage questions.

PSFD has now proceeded to its twentieth year. In order to promote survey data and exchange experiences of data usage, the 1st Conference for Panel Study of Chinese Family Dynamics was held on December 2-3, 2005. In addition, the “Conference for Taiwan and China Family Studies” and the “2018 Conference on Family Issues and Transformations“ were held in August, 2016 and August, 2018 respectively. Furthermore, the Workshops for Panel Study were held in 2006, 2013, 2015, and 2017, in which not only the Taiwan and China surveys were introduced, but also the data structure of PSFD and the analytical methods for the panel survey were presented. To facilitate data usage and share research experiences, the project will continue to hold conferences and workshops in the future.