Socioeconomic-Demographic Characteristics and Supporting Resources of the Chinese Elderly

Jianjun JI, Amy K. Wells


Inspired by the perspectives of Modernization Theory and Social Stratification Theory of Aging, this paper examines the social resources and the demographic characteristics of the Chinese elderly. The paper addresses the following questions: What social resources are available to the Chinese elderly after retirement? Are the demographic characteristics of the elderly associated with their social resources? Utilizing the 2006 China national survey data, this study demonstrates the current characteristics of the Chinese elderly aged 60 years and above and presents the availability of social resources for the elderly in five categories: external financial resources, medical resources, physical resources, family resources, and self-resources. The study explores the associations between demographic characteristics and the social resources in each area. To complete the above analysis and to test the above theories, methods of statistics of cross-tabulations, Chi-square significance test, and indicators of strengths shown by Cramer’s V and tau-c are applied. The results disclose a comprehensive picture of diverse social resources of the older people in contemporary Chinese society. The findings show that medical and self-resources are most closely associated with the demographic characteristics, followed by family resources, external financial resources, and lastly, physical resources. Policy implications are also addressed.


Chinese elderly; Social supporting resources; Demographic characteristics

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