Household Context and Health of Elderly in India: Examining the Intervening Linkages

Tannistha Samanta, University of Maryland
Reeve Vanneman, University of Maryland

This article examines the role of household context and how it relates to the health of the elderly in a transitional society that is experiencing rapid socioeconomic transformations and changes in family dynamics of intergenerational transfers of space, money and time. This empirical question is particularly relevant in the context of India that has the second largest population of elderly persons after China. More specifically, using data from the India Human Development Survey (2004-05), a nationally representative multi-topic dataset of 41,554 households, this article investigates if living arrangement has any implication for elderly health outcomes after controlling for socioeconomic status. Furthermore, for a limited sample of widows, the article explores the contours of the aforementioned hypothesized association, given the unique gender dimension of aging in the Indian context. Finally, the normative context and the related socio-cultural factors are considered while examining the association between household structure and elderly wellbeing.

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Presented in Session 98: Aging, Health, and Well-Being: International Perspectives