Family Dynamics of 63 Million (in 1990) to More Than 330 Million (in 2050) Elders in China
Based on censuses micro data files, population and family households projections, this paper analyses extremely rapid population aging, family dynamics and living arrangements of the elderly in China. Both our and the U.N.’s most recent projections confirm very rapid increase in proportion of elderly, huge numbers of elderly persons, an extraordinarily rapid increase of the oldest old after 2020, and more serious aging problems in rural than urban areas. Comparative data analysis on family dynamics and living arrangements of the elderly, males vs. females, younger elders vs. oldest old, rural vs. urban, and 1982 vs. 1990 are presented. According to an application to the multidimensional family household projection model, the family households structure and living arrangements of the Chinese elderly would change dramatically during the first half of the 21th century. In addition to demographic data analysis, we also discuss socio-economic and cultural contexts to explain the issues of rapid aging and changes in family structure and living arrangements of the elderly in China. Drawing upon our empirical findings, we presented policy recommendations on strengthening family support system, establishing an old age insurance program in rural areas, favourable policy for elderly women in consideration of their disadvantaged status, and smoothly transiting to a two-child plus spacing policy.
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