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Intergenerational Exchanges in Vietnam: Family Size, Sex Composition, and the Location of Children

Publication Abstract

PDF Knodel, John E., Jed Friedman, Truong Si Anh, and Bui The Cuo. 1998. "Intergenerational Exchanges in Vietnam: Family Size, Sex Composition, and the Location of Children." PSC Research Report No. 98-430. 12 1998.

Declining fertility in many Asian countries is leading to concern about its implications for support and care of the elderly. This study examines variations in intergenerational support by family size, family composition and location of children in Vietnam based on recent regional surveys in the north and south of the country. Results confirm the central role of children in providing material and other assistance to elderly parents but the relationships with family size depend on the type of support considered. Coresidence with a married child shows little relation to family size while the incidence of material transfers to parents increases with the number of children. Elders with larger families also receive support from a greater number of children. In both samples, the likelihood of a son or daughter providing material and social support is not very different. However, coresidence with married children is largely limited to sons in the north. Southern elders also favor coresidence with a married son but are far more flexible in this respect. In both samples, while having a son increases the chances of coresidence, having more than one son has no additional effect. Overall the results suggest that the smaller size of families in the future are not likely, in and of themselves, to adversely impact the well-being of Vietnamese elders in a major way with the possible exception of those in the north who have no sons.

Dataset(s): Survey Of Elderly in the Red River Delta: Vietnam, 1996. Survey of Elderly in Ho Chi Minh City and Environs: Vietnam, 1997.

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