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Isolated or Connected: an Economic and Social View on Impacts of Children ’ s Migration on Elderly Care in China. The 4th International Conference on Population and Geographies 2007.07.12 Chinese University of Hong Kong. John Ma Director Center for Spatial and Social Demographics

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The 4th International Conference on Population and Geographies 2007.07.12


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    1. Isolated or Connected: an Economic and Social View on Impacts of Children’s Migration on Elderly Care in China The 4th International Conference on Population and Geographies 2007.07.12 Chinese University of Hong Kong John Ma Director Center for Spatial and Social Demographics University of Science and Technology Guowei Zhou Project Assistant Center for Spatial and Social Demographics University of Science and Technology *Thanks for NBS and supports from RGC6305/04H and NRC06/07.HSS01

    2. Literature& Previous Studies Arguments: urbanization and migration on the well-being of elderly -: (Kosberg and Garcia 2004; UN 2002) • Lose of young labor force and heavy farming burden • Crash of traditional family support system • Isolation between two generations +: (Knodel 2005; Vanwey2004;Stark and Lucas 1988) • Family strategy to diversify risks of household income • Benefit both migrants and family members financially • Maintaining contacts while away • Exchange of Services between generations • Division of labor

    3. China Setting • Rapid Urbanization: 43%(2005) --70%(2025) • Largest floating population: (130m) • Hukou System • Previous empirical studies (Du 2005;Li 2004;Gu2003) • Living Arrangement: Alone or in Skip-generation family • Benefit local communities, but may cause some family problems • Our research design: • Representative (a National representative sample) • Comparable (migrant vs. non-migrant families; urban vs. rural)

    4. Hypotheses • We take a relatively positive view: • “Strategy” thesis: • migration enhance economic advantage of original family, including the support for elderly. • “Compensation” thesis: • The longer children leave, the more they give to parents. • The farer children leave, the more they give to parents. • “Isolation” thesis: • Away but connected • Elderly parents suffer in instrumental help and emotional comfort.

    5. The Data • 2004 Chinese General Social Survey( CGSS) • Sample: • Designed sample:11000 • Elderly sample: 1792 • IV: • Outmig: having migrant children or not • Mig_dur: 0.5y<mig duration<1y VS. 1y+ • Mig_dis: intraprov vs. Interprov • DV: • Economic: money transfer from children • Social : instrumental help and exchange • Emotional: Value system

    6. Money Transfer from Children by Hukou and Migration Status • For both urban and rural elderly, having migrant children do enhance the upward money flow from children

    7. Money Transfer from Children by Hukou and Migration Duration • The duration of children’s migration affects the amount of money giving to parents left behind, particularly in rural areas. • The pattern is much more obvious for long-term migrations, both at rural and urban areas.

    8. Money Transfer from Children by Hukou and Migration Distance • The distance makes a difference too in rural areas, and the farer you stay away, the more you give to elderly parents. • But the pattern is not clear in urban areas.

    9. Model the Money Transfer from Children • Elderly with migrant Children are more likely to receive money transfer, and migration effect is very significant. • The migration effect on the magnitude of transfers are not that significant except for those elderly with long-term migrant children.

    10. Self-perceived Economic Status of elderly by Hukou and Migration Status • The financial benefits are significant in rural areas where elderly with migrant children relatively higher socio-economic status. • Such an effect doesn’t exist in urban areas except for those elderly with inter-province migrant children.

    11. Housework burden by Hukou and Migration Status In rural areas, slightly heavier housework (8%) burden for elderly with migrant children, especially for those with inter-provincial migrants(18%). The pattern doesn’t exist in urban areas (p>>0.5)

    12. Contacts and value difference

    13. Conclusion • The interaction style between generations seems to be sort of adapted response to the change of environment and dispersion of family members, which to some extent promote an extended family system. • The above evidence comparing migrant with non-migrant families suggest: • Migration do help left-behind parents in terms of financial support. • Time and space make a difference, especially in rural areas, which strongly suggests “compensation” thesis behind. • Elderly suffer a slight loss of instrumental help, but no obvious evidence to show a decay of contacts and emotional relationship. • Big difference exists for urban and rural areas.

    14. Thank You!