Widowhood and Intergenerational Support in Contemporary China

Zhenmei Zhang, Michigan State University
I-Fen Lin, Bowling Green State University
Chuntian Lu, Michigan State University

With the rapid aging of the Chinese population, growing attention has been paid to old-age support. Widows and widowers are a particularly vulnerable group because the loss of a spouse can bring financial and emotional challenges. We used the 2002 wave of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey to examine the receipt and sources of multiple dimensions of old-age support (e.g., living arrangements, financial support, emotional support and sickness care) among a nationwide sample of widows and widowers aged 65 and older (N=10,505). We used multinomial and logistic regression for the analysis. Preliminary results showed that Chinese widows and widowers relied heavily on their children for instrumental, financial and emotional support. Parental needs and the number of children were the most significant predictors of old-age support. Remarriage significantly decreased the likelihood of receiving emotional support, sickness care and net financial transfer from children.

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Presented in Session 67: Aging and Intergenerational Relations in China