Grandparents’ Financial Contributions to Grandchildren in Rural China

Merril Silverstein , Syracuse University
Wencheng Zhang, Syracuse University

This investigation examined predictors of monetary transfers made by grandparents for the benefit of their grandchildren in rural China. The 2015 wave of the Longitudinal Study of Older Adults in Anhui Province was used to study financial transfers made by 831 grandparents to grandchildren in the families of 1,633 parents. Two-part random-effects regression revealed that grandparents provided greater financial transfers to grandchildren whose parents provided greater remittances and with whom they co-resided in skipped-generation households, almost all of whom had parents who were labor migrants. The likelihood of making a transfer to grandchildren fully followed the male-lineage, and was greatest to grandson-only families in which parents were first-born sons. We conclude that financial contributions to grandchildren in rural China are shaped by the demands of a highly mobile society, intergenerational interdependence, and a persistent patrilineal gender system privileging the male line of descent simultaneously influenced the largesse of grandparents.

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 Presented in Session 137. Families and Aging