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Sociodemographic and Health Profiles of the Oldest Old In China


  • Zeng Yi
  • James W. Vaupel
  • Xiao Zhenyu
  • Zhang Chunyuan
  • Liu Yuzhi


Unique data from a 1998 healthy longevity baseline survey provide demographic, socio-economic, and health characteristics of the oldest old, aged 80-105, in China. This subpopu-lation is growing rapidly and is likely to need extensive social and health services. A large majority of Chinese oldest old live with their children and rely mainly on children for financial support and care. Most Chinese oldest old had no or very little education. Ability to function independently in daily living declines rapidly and self-rated health declines moderately across the oldest old ages. As compared to their urban counterparts, the rural oldest old have far less pension support, are significantly less educated, and are more likely to be widowed and to rely on children for support. Apart from higher rates of survival, the female oldest old in China are far more disadvantaged than the male oldest old. Copyright 2002 by The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Zeng Yi & James W. Vaupel & Xiao Zhenyu & Zhang Chunyuan & Liu Yuzhi, 2002. "Sociodemographic and Health Profiles of the Oldest Old In China," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(2), pages 251-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:28:y:2002:i:2:p:251-273

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Manuela Nêveda Da Costa & Jianjun Ji, 2004. "Rural-Urban Economic Disparities among China’s Elderly," ERSA conference papers ersa04p444, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Ng, Sor Tho & Tey, Nai Peng & Asadullah, Niaz, 2017. "What Matters for Life Satisfaction among the Oldest-Old? Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 10624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Guodong Chen & Xiaoyan Lei, 2009. "“Fertility effect” or “supporting effect?”—Quantity of children and parental health," Frontiers of Economics in China, Springer;Higher Education Press, vol. 4(4), pages 601-616, December.
    4. Lingguo Cheng & Hong Liu & Ye Zhang & Zhong Zhao, 2018. "The heterogeneous impact of pension income on elderly living arrangements: evidence from China’s new rural pension scheme," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 155-192, January.
    5. Zhang, Zhenmei & Gu, Danan & Hayward, Mark D., 2010. "Childhood nutritional deprivation and cognitive impairment among older Chinese people," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(5), pages 941-949, September.
    6. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:53-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gu, Danan & Dupre, Matthew E. & Liu, Guangya, 2007. "Characteristics of the institutionalized and community-residing oldest-old in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 871-883, February.
    8. Cheng, Lingguo & Liu, Hong & Zhang, Ye & Zhao, Zhong, 2018. "The health implications of social pensions: Evidence from China's new rural pension scheme," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 53-77.
    9. Feinian Chen & Hui Liu & Kriti Vikram & Yu Guo, 2015. "For Better or Worse: The Health Implications of Marriage Separation Due to Migration in Rural China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1321-1343, August.
    10. Luo, Ye & Zhang, Zhenmei & Gu, Danan, 2015. "Education and mortality among older adults in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 134-142.
    11. Yi Zeng & James W. Vaupel, 2003. "Association of late childbearing with healthy longevity among the oldest-old in China," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-020, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    12. Li, Lydia W. & Zhang, Jiaan & Liang, Jersey, 2009. "Health among the oldest-old in China: Which living arrangements make a difference?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 220-227, January.

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