Elderly with and without Children: Do They Report Different Health Conditions?

maria Silvana Salvini, University f Florence

Rapid fertility declines and improved longevity are now shifting the overall balance of population towards older ages in many parts of the world. Within this growing population of older people there are many groups with particular needs about which relatively little is known. This contribution focuses on one of such sub-population, the elderly without children, compared with aged parents.

Having children doesn’t guarantee help in old age. But many adults with kids have extra help when become old. The presence of children may represent a source of love and support for old people who can depend on when there might be health and mobility problems later in life. If there are no kids, that support may be more difficult to have.

The aim of this study is represented by the differences in health perception according to gender and the presence of children, for individuals aged 65 and over

Our data are FSS (Italian Survey on Family and Social Subjects) and GGS (Gender and Generation Survey), around the period 2009-2010. The countries we consider are Italy, France, Netherland and Poland.

After a descriptive analysis, we use regression models accounting for selection effects and endogeneity. Exemplifying for Italy and using a simple regression model where good health is function of gender, marital status, education, region, and presence of children, we note a better health status for men, the married people, the better-educated people, people living in North/Centre of Italy and, finally, people with children. In the final paper, we want to analyze the situation of the other countries, using a regression model where we include heterogeneity and selection phenomena, inverse causation and omitted variables.

Presented in Session 15: Family Dynamics and Health