Living Arrangements of Widowed Oldest Old Women, China: Who Are They Living With?

Qiong Zhou, University of California, Los Angeles

According to the Chinese 2000 national census, ten percent of the Chinese population are elderly (age 60+), among which eight percent are oldest old (age 80+). Of the oldest old, women account for over 60 percent, and 83 percent are widowed. My question is, after losing their spouses, with who are these women living? Based on data from the 1998 Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), my analysis shows a substantial proportion of widowed oldest old women are not living with offspring, despite Chinese tradition and the efforts of the Chinese government with regard to family care. The results also reveal that demographic and socio-economic factors play an important role in oldest old widows' living arrangements. Additionally, some in good health and economic conditions can choose to live alone voluntarily, whereas others are forced to live alone because they have no living children, spouse, or other family members to depend on.

  See paper

Presented in Session 125: Living Arrangements and Work