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Ageing and changing patterns in familial structure for older persons in India: A decomposition analysis
Authors: Dhillon P, Ladusingh L, and Agrawal G
Source: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 17(2): 83-96; DOI:
Topic(s): Aging
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2016
Abstract: Purpose-At the turn of twenty-first century, India is facing rapid population ageing coupled with consequential socio-economic development changes. Against the backdrop of such changes, its traditional familial support system of living arrangements for older persons is swiftly changing, undergoing rapid transition towards nuclear family systems. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach-This paper examined: first, the changing trends and patterns in joint family systems defined in terms of households with older persons and total households; and second, socioeconomic and demographic determinants of changes in the proportion of nuclear households with older adults. The decomposition analysis segregated the contribution of determinants of the change in nuclear households with older persons in three different components: propensity, composition, and interaction. The study used data from three successive rounds of the National Family Health Survey. Findings-Results indicate that a lower proportion of households with older persons were nuclear compared to total households. However, for both types of households, nuclear households increased by nine percentage points during 1992-2006. Households with older persons that were headed by old aged persons, illiterates or females, situated in urban area, not owned agriculture land, lower affluent level, and from Southern India were at most risk of being nuclear than their counterparts. Originality/value-This study provided ample evidence of the increase in nuclear familial structure for older persons in the course of population ageing. Population ageing, urbanization and increase in education, primarily contributed to the increase in nuclear family households of older persons. Keywords: Ageing; Decomposition; India; Living arrangements; Nuclear family household; Older persons