Do Children Act As Old Age Security in Rural India? Evidence from an Analysis of Elderly Living Arrangements
In the absence of any extra familial welfare system, most elderly persons in India tend to coreside with children. Little is however known about their living conditions. The present paper attempts to bridge this gap of the literature and examines the living arrangements of elderly men and women in rural India with a view to derive implications of old age security. An analysis of the recent National Sample Survey data suggests that elderly men and women with children tend to enjoy on average higher consumption expenditure per adult equivalent if they coreside with children. There is also evidence that the ownership of property and financial assets among the elderly and presence of economically active educated sons enhance the likelihood of co- residence. However the likelihood of coresidence is lower among widowed/separated women and also those with physical disability, immobility or long-term illness. These results tend to highlight the limits of children as old age security, especially for the disadvantaged elderly who do not have wealth, health or both.
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