Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 30
The elderly share of China’s population is projected to grow well beyond the capacity of the nation’s social security system. Meanwhile, family care is being challenged by a decline in fertility and an increase in migration from rural to urban areas. This paper examines the short-, mid-, and long-term effects of family support on elderly well-being in rural China, using four-wave panel data on 1,456 persons aged 60 and above in the Chaohu region of China. Findings showed that compared with living alone, being coresident with others lowered the mortality risk of several chronic diseases; but being coresident with adult children increased the mortality risk of cardiovascular diseases, though it was associated with a higher quality of life in the short and middle term. Children’s educational attainment and financial support increased the quality of life except for an increased risk of new incidence of cardiovascular disease in the middle term.