Determinants of Living Arrangements of Elderly in Orissa: An Analysis
India is home to a rapidly growing population of elderly persons. It is among the fastest growing ones in the world. Yet, there are very few studies documenting their welfare or focussing on the factors that determine their living arrangements. Some studies show that the traditional India joint family system is on the decline and more families are becoming nuclear. Given this background, it is important to explore the current nature of the living arrangements and its determinants. Studies focusing on the socio-economic and demographic correlates of living arrangements are rather scanty. Hence, this paper analyses the socio-economic and demographic correlates of the living arrangement choices of older persons in the state of Orissa. The data for the present work was taken from the 60th round of the National Sample Survey of the elderly in Orissa. The total sample size for Orissa was 1,238 old persons, with 660 males and 578 females. Both bivariate and multivariate techniques with Pearson’s chi-square test statistics were used for the analysis. A majority of the elderly (51.5 per cent), were in co-residence or lived with their spouses and children; roughly, one-third lived without the spouse but with children and a small proportion (2.5 per cent) lived with other relatives and non-relatives. The major demographic factors considered here that determine the living arrangements of the elderly are, age, sex, marital status, and surviving children. The socio-economic factors include place of residence, education, caste, income and economic dependency. The variables, like age, sex, marital status, number of surviving children, education, income and economic dependency, play an important role in determining the living arrangements of the elderly in Orissa. In view of the changing socio-economic and demographic scenario, increasing education and income and a simultaneous decline in fertility, there is a likelihood of a higher proportion of elderly Indians living alone in the future. Therefore, the policies and programmes for the elderly have to be appropriately designed to address the needs of those who live alone.
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