Living Arrangements of the Elderly in China

Evidence from CHARLS

by Xiaoyan Lei, John Strauss, Meng Tian, Yaohui Zhao

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Recent increases in Chinese elderly living alone or only with a spouse has raised concerns about elderly support, especially when public support is inadequate. However, using rich information from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, this paper finds that the increasing trend in living alone is accompanied with a rise in living close to each other. This type of living arrangement solves the conflicts between privacy/independence and family support. This is confirmed in further investigation: children living close by visit their parents more frequently. It also finds that children who live far away provide a larger amount of net transfers to their parents, a result consistent with responsibility sharing among siblings. Having more children is associated with living with a child or having a child nearby, while investing more in a child's schooling is associated with greater net transfers to parents.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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