Attitudes and Preferences towards Future Old-Age Support amongst Tomorrow’s Elders in China

Min Qin , ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton
Jane C. Falkingham, University of Southampton
Maria Evandrou, University of Southampton
Athina Vlachantoni, University of Southampton

In China, the life course experiences of those born in the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s have been very different to those of their predecessors; these individuals may not be able to, or wish to, rely on their family in the future. We investigated the current attitudes towards provision of old-age support and preferences for their future old-age living arrangements amongst individuals currently in mid-life (aged 40-55), representing the next generation of China’s older people. Using data from the 2013 Chinese Household Finance Survey (CHFS), analyses focused on understanding the roles of family structure, socioeconomic status and current patterns of intergenerational support in shaping attitudes and preferences towards future old-age support among today’s mid-lifers. Results from a series of multinomial logistical models show that attitudes and preferences towards old-age support are shaped by relations within the family, which in turn were affected by broader historical and contemporary social, economic, and cultural conditions. Specifically, the number of children, and having at least one son significantly influences people’s attitudes and preferences. There is substantial variation by rural and urban residents (Hukou) and by education. Looking forward to their own old age, Chinese mid-lifers currently providing care to an aged parent are more likely to expect to be cared for in the future by their own children. The results also point to important cohort and gender differences. This study advances understanding of how decisions on old-age care related to the life course and changing family structures in China.

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 Presented in Session 51. Policies for Ageing Populations