Trends in Kin Networks and Self-rated Health of India’s Older Population, 1995–1996 to 2014

Judith Lieber
Lynda Clarke, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Sanjay Kinra, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Sociodemographic trends are changing the kin networks of India’s rapidly growing older population. To assess how this might affect health of the older population, this paper uses nationally-representative surveys to investigate trends in the structure of close kin (namely sons, daughters, spouse) of the population aged 60 plus between 1995-96 and 2014, and establish the relationship with self-rated health. Results indicate that numbers of children are declining although being child-less or son-less remains rare, whilst having no daughters and having a spouse is rising. Having a spouse is associated with better health, whilst having many children, any daughters, or no son is associated with worse health. Together, these results suggest current trends will not necessarily negatively affect older people’s health if patterns remain consistent; nevertheless, we expect the largest changes to occur over the next few generations and to potentially lead to a higher burden for families.

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 Presented in Session 223. Flash Session: Families and Health