Sons, daughters, and intergenerational support in China

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Traditionally, in the patriarchal Chinese family system, sons, rather than daughters, are expected to take the major responsibility for taking care of parents. However, demographic changes, economic development, and cultural transitions may have altered the traditional gender patterns of providing support to parents. This study examines the gender disparities in providing financial, instrumental, and emotional support to parents in rural and urban China. Using data from Chinese General Social Survey in 2006, the analysis shows that, after controlling for relevant factors, gender differences in financial assistance (with sons providing more) exist in rural areas, but not in cities. Daughters provide more instrumental and emotional support to parents in urban China, whereas sons and daughters do not differ in rural China. Furthermore, gender-based exchange contracts between parents and adult children persist in rural areas, but they have disappeared in urban China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-52
Number of pages27
JournalChinese Sociological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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