The Effects of Fertility Decline on Family Structure and Support for Older Persons in Latin America and Asia

Karen F. Glaser, King's College London
Elizabeth Costenbader, Johns Hopkins University
Antonio Camargo, Fundação Sistema Estadual de Análise de Dados (SEADE)
Belkis Trench, Universidade de São Paulo

Global population aging has led to concerns about the erosion of family support to the elderly in societies with little government institutional protection for older people. Essential to understanding intergenerational support and the demand for services among older people is a clear picture of the number, types and location of kin. We compare family structures and support for older persons in two Asian (Taiwan, The Philippines) and six Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay), using recently collected data (1999-2001). The eight countries can be classified according to the timing of their fertility transition (very advanced; advanced; and progressing). We use these typologies to explore variations across countries in family structure, proximity, and transfers of support. Results show that differences across countries are generally consistent with hypotheses about the timing of fertility transition, but also reflect important regional variation in cultural ideas about the family.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Aging