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John E. Knodel photo

Thailand's Older Population: Social and Economic Support as Assessed in 2002

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionKnodel, John E., Napaporn Chayovan, Preeya Mithranon, Pattama Amornsirisomboon, and Supraporn Arunraksombat. 2005. "Thailand's Older Population: Social and Economic Support as Assessed in 2002." PSC Research Report No. 05-571. 1 2005.

This study examines various aspects of social and economic support of Thai elderly as assessed by the 2nd Survey of Elderly in Thailand (aged 60 and over) conducted by the National Statistical Office in 2002. Where possible, comparisons are provided with results from the 1st Survey of Elderly in Thailand conducted in 1994. The analysis covers characteristics of Thai elderly, trends and differentials in their living arrangements, the impact of living arrangements on their well-being, sources of material support, caregiving and social support. An extensive discussion of data problems associated with the 2002 survey is also provided. Co-residence between older parents and adult children (including children-in-law) declined from 74 to 66 percent between 1994 and 2002. Nevertheless, in 2002, 79 percent of Thai elderly still either lived with or had frequent contact with a child or child in-law and 77 percent received income or material support from children. Thus the family, and in particular adult children, still play a major role in providing support and care for the elderly in Thailand.

Adult children followed by work are the two most common sources of support for Thai elders. One third of elderly reported their income to be insufficient, a share that has remained constant between 1994 and 2002. Between 3-5 percent of elderly in 2002 reported receiving a government welfare allowance. The poorest elderly are most likely to receive the allowance but the inverse association between the percentage who ever received an allowance and socioeconomic status is weak. Improvements in the selection process for government allowances would help ensure that the elderly most in need are covered by the program.

Country of focus: Thailand.

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