Health Condition of Elderly in Europe: The Role of Children

Chiara Bocci , University of Florence
Silvana Salvini, University of Florence

The world is aging rather rapidly. As both the proportion of older people and the length of life increase throughout the world, key questions arise. Will population aging be accompanied by a longer period of good health, a sustained sense of well-being, and extended periods of social productivity, or are associated with more illness, disability, and dependency? And which is the relationship between childlessness and health, in a world where fertility does decline? We intend to study the relationship between childlessness and perceived health for elderly in four European countries: France, The Netherland, Poland and Italy. While Italy is a familistic society, the other three countries present few intergenerational exchanges and an early exit of children from the parental home. We have chosen to analyse these countries, which are characterized by different culture and welfare systems, to understand if the context is important to determine the relationship. To investigate the possible relation between the perceived health status of old people and the number of children (controlling for age, sex, marital status, education, work status, region and ownership of household) we apply a multinomial logistic regression. Generally, in every country we examined, we did not observe a significant association between the number of children and the perceived health of elderly, whereas covariates are often linked with health by a strong relationship.

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 Presented in Session 56. Kin Availability at Older Ages and Its Consequences on Health