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Gender and Family Support for Older Adults in Bangladesh

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionGhuman, Sharon, and Mary Beth Ofstedal. 2004. "Gender and Family Support for Older Adults in Bangladesh." PSC Research Report No. 04-563. 8 2004.

We examine the nature of economic and social support from children and siblings for a sample of individuals age 50 and above collected in Matlab, Bangladesh. We consider coresidence, exchanges of money, goods or services, childcare, and social visits, and examine whether the gender of the support recipient and the support provider conditions the patterns of exchanges. One half to two thirds of older adults live with a married child or receive assistance from a non-coresident child. Siblings are less likely to provide assistance and, on average, give lower amounts than children. Sons are considerably more likely than daughters to live with or adjacent to parents, or provide economic aid. But daughters are not uninvolved in exchanges with parents, and channel resources to mothers more than fathers. There is no evidence that older women are at a disadvantage in terms of coresidence, receipt of support from children or siblings, or frequent contact with children compared to men. But they are less likely to seek contact with the larger community. Older persons who do not live with children have regular contact with and receive assistance from them. Of the few who are childless, most live with family members or live alone but receive regular visits from children or relatives. We also compare the findings from Bangladesh with other East and Southeast Asian contexts.

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