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Economic Transfers from Adult Children and Healthcare Utilization by Older Chinese

Arnott, George (2016)
Master's Thesis (48 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Argeseanu, Solveig
Committee Members:
Research Fields: Public health; Demography; Gerontology
Partnering Agencies: Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs ; University, college or educational institution (other than Emory) ; Non-US governmental agency (e.g., Minister of Health in Haiti)
Keywords: China; Healthcare Utilization; Economic Transfers; Family; Older People
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rpzcj

Abstract

Family support has long been a staple of old-age security in China, however rapid population ageing in recent decades has left the nation with fewer young people to care for a large cohort of older people. At the same time, as this older generation continues to age, and their health begins to decline, their medical needs are likely to put a strain on China's healthcare system. In this study we endeavored to explore the relationship between economic transfers from adult children to their parents, and whether these transfers might be associated with the healthcare utilization of these older people, using data from the nationally representative China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Our results suggest that health needs are more important to the decision to seek care than economic supports from adult children, however children themselves are associated with a greater probability of utilizing care; the findings of this study also point to gaps in health services and facilities between urban and rural areas, particularly with regard to inpatient care. Taken together, we believe that this study supports the conclusion that family support will remain a key element of old-age security in China even in the face of population ageing, and would suggest that meeting the health needs of the nation's elderly remain a priority.

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