Dynamics of Family Households and Elderly Living Arrangements in China, 1990-2010

Yi Zeng, Duke University and Peking University
Zhenglian Wang, Duke University
Qiushi Feng, National University of Singapore
Wenzhao Shi, Digital China
W. Jean Yeung, National University of Singapore and University of Michigan

This article presents analysis on dynamics of family households and elderly living arrangements in China based on micro data of 2010, 2000 and 1990 censuses. We demonstrate the trends and rural-urban differentials of largely declined household size, quickly increasing one-person and one-couple-only households, substantially increased proportions of elderly living alone or with spouse only. We also present two unique/interesting findings. First, proportion of three-generation households increased by 18.9 percent in rural area, while decreased by 23.7 percent in urban areas in 1990-2010, due to socioeconomic/attitude changes and different rural-urban demographic effects of fertility decline. Second, increase in number of households is much larger than population growth, and increases in numbers of elders(especially oldest-old) who live alone or with spouse only are dramatically larger than the corresponding increase in the proportions, due to joint effects of rapid population aging and increase in proportions living alone or with spouse only.

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Presented in Session 237: Determinants and Implications of Intergenerational Co-Residence across the World