Patterns and Trends of Grandparenting in China

Feinian Chen, North Carolina State University

Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1991, 1993, 1997, 2000), I document the scope and extent of grandparent caring for grandchildren in China. I investigate the proportion of children who are cared for by grandparents, the time frame and the level of caregiving responsibilities the grandparents have, and the location where grandparent caregiving takes place. I extend beyond the boundary of the household, by examining the level of care provided by both co-residing and non-co-residing grandparents. I focus on urban and rural differences in grandparental care, where socioeconomic contexts are known to vary vastly. I distinguish care provided by paternal and maternal grandparents, of whom the traditional patriarchal and patrilineal culture has distinctive expectations. Finally, I explore the patterns of grandparent caregiving over time, and how it is linked with changing demographic trends, as fertility and mortality continue to decline in China.

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Presented in Session 63: Aging and Household Structure in Developing Countries