The Welfare of Bereaved Parents of Only Children in China
Yan Wei, Xi'an University of Finance and Economics (XAUFE)
Quanbao Jiang, Xi'an Jiaotong University
More than one-third of all Chinese families-around 145 million families-today have only one child. There is an estimated annual death toll of 76,000 only-children in China, but there has been little empirical research on the group of bereaved parents. Using a sample survey conducted in 2013 in Shaanxi Province in China, the paper explores the vulnerability of ‘only child lost families’ in terms of physical welfare, psychological welfare, economic welfare, social support and old age security. The results indicate that such families are more vulnerable than non-bereaved families in every respect. Within ‘only-child lost families’ there are significant differences in living welfare due to parental and child-death characteristics. Families with lower education level and income level, chronic diseases, as well as families lost their only son or adult child, are significantly more vulnerable. We argue that support policies for ‘only-child lost families’ should be strengthened and modified.