Do Small Families Jeopardize Old Age Security? Evidence from Thailand
Evidence from a 1990 national survey of Elderly Persons in Thailand provides quantitative data to assess the association between several key measures of support from children and the number of the elderly respondent's living children. The results reveal that there is only a weak or negligible relationship between the number of children and the probability of co-residing with children, receiving support from children, or being helped with daily activities by children. Moreover elderly people with few children are as likely as those with many to feel cared for by their children. Qualitative data from a series of recent focus groups indicate that both Thai elderly and their children generally recognize that well-being does not depend on family size, and provide insights into why this is so. These findings call into question common assumptions about the extent to which fertility declines in the Third World pose a threat to the extent of familial support of the elderly in the future.
Data used: WHO Survey of the Elderly in Thailand: Thailand, 1990.