Filial Piety Expectations of Older Adults in Urban and Rural China

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 12:45 PM
Room: 502
Oral Presentation
Merril SILVERSTEIN , Syracuse University
Due to declining fertility rates and growing life-expectancy, China will have one of the world’s oldest populations by the middle of the 21st century with more than one in three individuals over the age of 60.  Reductions in family size—the result of the one-child policy in urban areas and 1.5-child policy in rural areas—will also lessen the availability adult children who currently serve as the backbone of the elder-support system.  Although China’s older population is still predominantly rural, little is known comparatively between urban and rural elders in terms of filial support expectations and the factors that may differentially drive the strength with which filial piety is valued by older adults.  This presentation will make use of 2012-13 pilot data from the Chinese General Social Survey of Aging, a national study of older adults (60+) in China that yielded 1,126 individuals about evenly divided between urban and rural locations.  Questions in the survey about filial expectations concerned whether children should be financial providers to their parents, whether children should live close to their parents, whether children should live with their parents, and the special obligation of sons to insure the old age security of their parents.  Descriptive and multivariate statistics will be presented to determine if aging in urban and rural China is truly a tale of two family types and identify the social, economic, and health factors that may be responsible for any differences detected.