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DOI:10.1068/a3523 Regional variation in family support for the elderly in China: a geodevelopmental perspective

By Ge Lin


Abstract. The author examines the impact of rapid social change and economic development on family support for older parents in contemporary urban China. Based on the 1992 Survey on China's Support Systems for the Elderly, the author uses three levels of economic development as proxies for developmental stages in a study carried out from a geodevelopmental perspective. It is found that intergenerational support in urban China is persistent as far as instrumental support is concerned, and that the level of support follows a U-shaped pattern along the axis of economic development. It is in the mid-developed urban areas that intergenerational support seems the weakest. If the pattern from the less-developed to the developed urban areas reflects a time path, then the suggested trajectory will not lead to a convergence with the old-age support system found in the West. The author concludes that, although some aspects of economic support for the elderly will likely be consistent with modernization theory, the old-age support system in China is, on the whole, likely to diverge from the path seen in the West

Year: 2002
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