An Analysis of Living Arrangements Among Elderly Women in Brazil *

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1 An Analysis of Living Arrangements Among Elderly Women in Brazil * Flávia Cristina Drumond Andrade University of Wisconsin-Madison Susan DeVos University of Wisconsin-Madison Key words: Living arrangements, elderly, Brazil. A. INTRODUCTION Families are an important locus for exchanging emotional comfort, physical care and security, as well as goods and resources, within a social grouping easily identified by blood ties. However, the traditional family is changing for reasons that may have to do with economics, cultural change or a combination of economic and cultural factors (Goode, 1963). Modernization heralds in economic, social and political institutions that may replace what had been relegated to the Family (see Burgess and Locke, 1945). For example, the choice of living independently is facilitated in modern societies by the presence of institutions that provide services and goods previously provided exclusively by the Family - particularly through co-residence. An important dimension of the traditional family is the living situation of older people. In more developed countries, coresidence with family members, particularly older parents and their adult children, has been declining over the last century (Kramarow: 1995). In contrast, that coresidence remains relatively high in less developed countries although there is some evidence it is also declining (Palloni, 2001). Indeed, while 70% of white elderly widows lived alone in the U.S. in 1990, less than a quarter of unmarried women in Brazil did so (Kramarow, 1995; Saad, 1998). In this context, the analysis of a developing country may provide helpful insights unto how families in developing countries adjust to the aging process. Governments of those countries will may depend on the Family to provide care to their older members. Focusing on the living arrangements of elderly (65+) women in Brazil, this paper * Trabalho apresentado no XIII Encontro da Associação Brasileira de Estudos Populacionais, realizado em Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brasil de 4 a 8 de novembro de 2002.

2 contributes to the current debate about the main factors constraining and stimulating the creation of different sets of living arrangements among elderly people (Wolf and Soldo, 1988; Burr and Mutchler, 1992) in a modernizing environment. It explores the associations between economic, demographic, cultural, and health factors on the one hand and living arrangements on the other. 1. Why Elderly Women in Brazil Brazil currently has the 5 th biggest population in the world and, though a developing country, will have the 7 th largest elderly population in 2020 (United Nations, 2001). Indeed, Brazil s is one of the fastest growing elderly populations anywhere. The percentage of people age 65 and over increased from 3.0% in 1950, reached 5.1% in 2000 and will be 18% in 2050 (United Nations, 2001). In these last 50 years, the annual growth rate of this age group was 3.36%, the fastest among all age groups. Moreover, in the next 50 years the elderly population will increase at a phenomenal rate of 3.25% while the total population will grow less than 1 percent each year. This incredible aging process is the result of successful reductions in both fertility and mortality of the last decades, and continual improvements in adult mortality (Palloni: 2001). 1 Such fast aging has important consequences for Brazilian families because public institutions, such as social security and health systems, are not prepared to support this growing aged population. In fact, the aging process experienced in Brazil and other countries in Latin America is much faster than the one observed in most developed countries. This is particularly problematic in a context in which resources tend to be much more scarce and institutions are less prepared to adjust at the same pace. The dramatic rise of the absolute size of the elderly population is already impacting the health care and health system as well as income transfers from public sector, but this pressure tends to increase even faster in the next decades. With constrained resources, the public sector has frequently opted for reforms that reduce the social transfers to elderly people (as exemplified by Argentina and Chile). Although the Brazilian government has in the last decades extended benefits to women and rural areas (Delgado and Cardoso, 1999), at the same time it has progressively changed the rules of acquiring social pensions. The new policy has a higher minimum age requirement, 2

3 longer period of contribution and there are also plans to tax pensions. In this context, families will probably have their assistance role increased in Brazil. However, difficulties in the labor market have also constrained the children s independence and ability to provide financial support to their parents. Under current circumstances, there is some indication that, in some areas in Brazil, children have been exchanging physical and emotional support by economic support through coresidence with their parents (Saad, 1998). Therefore, potential reductions in the pensions may have deleterious consequences not only for the elderly people, but also for their children facing economic constraints. Women constitute a majority of the elderly population in Brazil 2, are more likely to be unmarried, and are consequently more likely than men to depend on their children 3. Female mortality is lower in 2000 the life expectancy at birth was 72.6 vs (IBGE, 2001) and remarriage is lower. The 1991 Brazilian Census showed that 57% of elderly women and 17.5% of elderly men were widowed. (Besides, since men tend to marry with younger women (and remarry with even younger ones), they are more likely to have a healthy spouse to take care of them.) Finally, women are much more exposed to poverty than men in Brazil because they have lower education, lower experience in the labor market and only recently had Social Security benefits extended to them. 2. Background Three factors thought to have major influence on the living arrangements of elderly women are their kinship availability, their economic well-being, and their health status. We briefly discuss each but here also want to point out that little is yet known about the situation in Brazil. By and large, studies about living arrangements in Brazil have been very basic indeed (e.g., Camarano et al, 1999, Medeiros, 2000, Medeiros and Osorio, 2001, Medeiros et al., 2002). Only one study that we know of (Saad, 1998) conducted a multivariate analysis of the determinants of living arrangements and the intergenerational transfers between elderly parents and their adult children in two regions of Brazil. a. Kinship Availability In contrast to the usual situation in which studies that talk of kinship then talk about 3

4 families with young children, we are concerned with the kinship situation of elderly women. This is still usually constrained to considering members of the same household since most census and surveys are household-based and collect information only for those in the household (Wolf, 1994). But sometimes there is information on children or other relatives living outside the household. For instance we have information on the numbers of living sons and daughters whether in the same household or not. Also, although limited, the information on children and spouses in the same household can be extremely useful because those kin have a specially central role in providing care to elderly people. Generally, the presence of a spouse is considered primary, that of children secondary. Spouses tend to be spatially proximity, have long-term ties, and are committed. In fact, research has demonstrated that married parents are less likely to co-reside with their children (Pezzin and Schone, 1999b). In this aspect, men are favored because wives are generally younger and socially prepared to take care of others. For women, on the other hand, the benefits of being married are much less apparent because husbands tend to be older and therefore more disabled and vulnerable. In fact, wives tend to be the main source of support for men, but children are generally the main source of care to women (Katz et al., 2000). The number and characteristics of the children have been extensively explored and there is no doubt that availability of children constrains the set of possible living arrangements. Studies in general support the view that the number of living children is positively related with the probability of living with a child(ren) and negatively associated with living alone (Martin, 1989, DaVanzo and Chan: 1994, Macunovich et al: 1995), but this may be more so in some locations than in others (De Vos, 2000). The idea has been that more children increases the chances that at least one child will be willing to help a parent; that a higher number of siblings increase the chances that two or more siblings will share the provision of care. A child s gender and/or marital status may be important as well as the number. In Western societies, daughters are much more likely than sons to provide care to their parents and to coreside with them. However, the opposite may be true in non-western societies (Bongaarts and Zimmer, 2002). In some non-western societies such as Korea 4

5 and Malaysia, sons are expected to be responsible for the parent s care (Lee and Palloni, 1992; Won and Lee, 1999; DaVanzo and Chan, 1994). Also, regarding the marital status, parents seem to prefer to coreside with unmarried children. Studies have also emphasized that not only quantitative measures of kin availability are important, but also the quality of the emotional and instrumental assistance. Others have also analyzed the distance from each child as an indicator of the propensity to coreside. This information is much more difficult to come by, but given the increase in divorce and remarriage in U.S. some studies have also analyzed the availability of stepchildren as well as biological children (e.g. Pezzin and Schone, 1999a; Wachter, 1998). Finally, although coresidence with children is frequently viewed as a result of more altruism towards their parents than other relatives would have, it is also possible that children are more motivated by self-interest than is sometimes thought (a much less explored venue). In sum, the past fertility decline has raised discussions regarding the potential decline of coresidence among elderly parents and their children. The high number of living children among the present generation of older people actually facilitated coresidence in the recent past. But now, given the fertility decline along with increased life expectancy the availability of elderly parents will increase. Therefore, the decrease in the number of children may pose constraints to the coresidence between generations. The industrialization and urbanization processes, which increase spatial mobility, tend to decrease even further the availability of children. Moreover, modernization is associated with a higher participation of women in the labor force. Since daughters (and daughters-in-law) are the main source of care to their parents (and step-parents), the modernization process is likely to have an effect on intergenerational transfers. b. Increased Societal Economic Well-Being If residence with children is viewed as a loss of privacy, and if privacy is a normal good, then it is logical that independent living would increase with income. Vast empirical evidence supports the premise that higher income is associated with independent living (e.g. Chattopadhyay, 1999; Mutchler and Burr, 1991; Wolf and Soldo, 1988). That is, extended living arrangements are thought to be a way of obtaining economies of scale or to exchange services. However, in some cases the 5

6 higher income is associated with less coresidence only for those unmarried (DaVanzo and Chan: 1994). There are problems with this view however. For one, some literature provides a measure of the effect of income on the probability of living alone (or coresiding), but it does neither address if those living alone would be better off if they were coresiding or if those coresiding with children would be better living alone (Palloni, 2001). Another problem is that the use of the economic approach frequently neglects the fact that household composition is influenced by cultural factors and individuals in different societies may evaluate privacy and companionship differently. Ties that link generations can become weaker as a result of the increased individualism that generally accompanies the modernization and urbanization processes. In fact, it has been demonstrated that household composition differs considerably across cultural and racial groups. For example, Burr and Mutchler (1992) affirm that elderly Hispanic women are more likely than non-hispanic white females to live in complex households (live with others) and less likely to live alone or in institutions. Martin (1989) shows that being Malay in Malaysia reduces the probability of living with children and being religious in Korea is associated with a higher probability. However, other studies shows no effect of race (Wolf and Soldo,1988). Finally, the focus on current income rather than assets may blur the analysis of real exchanges as it is possible that parents own a property in which their children can live in order for their children to benefit in terms of income. Third, an effect of income will only work in a context in which markets handle the services and goods otherwise handled by a family. In less developed countries, access to a market place tends to be limited. Another option is to have the services provided by governments, but governments also have economic constraints. c. Health Limitations Finally, health may be an important determinant of living arrangements among elderly people. The argument is that poor health status and disability decrease the likelihood of living independently at older ages and increases the likelihood that a parent will coreside with a child (or sibling). Studies have demonstrated that, rather than a linear shape, the age patterns of coresidence with children has a U-shape. In other cases, the association between age and disability is so strong that age becomes weakly 6

7 associated with coresidence when health status is controlled (DaVanzo and Chan, 1994). Generally it is assumed that poor health status and disability status trigger parents to move into children s households or induce their children to move into the parental home. The market care that could be an alternative to parental care is not always available or accessible. Therefore, in many circumstances relatives, particularly children, are the only potential sources of care giving because the option of buying services from the market is prohibitive for most of the families. This is particularly true in developing countries where services provided by the government are so limited and precarious that families have no option other than themselves providing the necessary care for the elderly relatives. A less explored venue relates to the possible reverse causality between health status and coresidence. Health status can be a result rather than cause of specific living arrangements. For example, parents coresiding with their children may feel less lonely and thus less likely to be depressed than those living alone (Allen et al., 2000), those previously sick may have recovered after having moved into their children s home, among others (Palloni, 2001). B. THE STUDY The study uses data from Brazil s 1998 national household survey (PNAD) to estimate a multinomial logistic model in which living arrangements, a four-category dependent variable, is regressed on region, urban/rural residence, age, number of living children, race, poverty, income, education, disability and the presence of a spouse. All this is discussed more below. 1. Data Data for this study come from the 1998 Brazilian Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (National Survey of Households or PNAD). PNAD is a household survey that investigates characteristics of the population such as education, work status, income, home ownership and household conditions. With different periodicity it investigates additional themes such as health, migration, nutrition, and social mobility. 7

8 In 1998, PNAD included a supplement about health 4. A nationally-representative stratified probability sample, the PNAD was selected in two stages: first, the primary unit was selected from sectors of the Brazilian 1991 Census. Second, individual households were sampled within the primary unit. The 1998 PNAD collected information in 112,434 households units 5 and 344,975 individuals in all geographical areas, with exception of rural areas of some states in the North region. These households were distributed in 6,678 census sectors in 793 municipalities. Out of an initial sample of 11,043 woman aged 65, we used the 9,595 cases who were heads of household, spouses or other relatives. We did not include women who were children or non-relatives of the head of the household head, 6 maids or members of impermanent households 7. Finally, we excluded cases with missing values for the relevant variables (number of living children, education, income and ADL). 2. Variables a. Living Arrangements Living arrangements is a four-category variable: 1) women living WITHOUT CHILDREN live completely alone or only with a spouse 8 ; 2) women living WITH CHILD(REN) live with or without a spouse but share a household with at least one child. The woman either heads the household or is the spouse of the head; 3) women living IN CHILD S HOME means that a mother is not the head or the head s spouse, but rather is classified as other relatives 9 in her child s home 10 ; 4) women living WITH OTHERS includes the remaining living arrangements in which the elderly woman shares the household with others. In this case, woman can assume the position of the head, but not spouse, or other relative. She cannot have a child in the household but instead lives with non-relatives or relatives other than spouses and children. We did not divide the category WITH CHILD(REN) into WITH DAUGHTER and WITH SON because there is a considerable proportion of elderly living with more than one child 11. Households with live-in maids or servants (2% of the final sample) were coded in one of these categories except the one-person household. This distinction as to who heads the household is important. Most children in the 8

9 second WITH CHILD(REN) category are still unmarried and dependent on their parents whereas those in the third IN CHILD S HOME category are married and have established their own household. Anyway, parents have more authority and power when they live in their own households whereas the opposite is true if they live in their child s household. Indeed, an elderly parent may move into a child s home from her own because of widowhood or economic, physical or emotional need. It is improbable that the mothers moved to their child s home and assumed the household headship (Ruggles, 2001). A good reflection of the situation in Brazil, this categorization has similarities with that developed by Sweet and Bumpass (1987: ) for the United States in More generally however, although there is clear meaning to household headship in Brazil, that meaning can be more ambiguous in other places, especially if the locus of economic support and of authority is not the same. Many censuses around the world have begun to use the term householder instead of head, and many comparative living arrangements schemes try to avoid using the term head (De Vos and Holden, 1988) PNAD data were limited in three ways that required us to use headship information however. First, it did not collect information on marital status. We had to try to infer marital status by looking at household composition, but we only did so for the elderly woman. If the elderly woman was the head of a household with a spouse or was a spouse of the head, then she was considered married. If she was the head but there was no spouse, then she was unmarried. 12 Also, if she was another relative of the head AND there was a male other relative 65 or older 13 in the household, then she was considered married. Otherwise, she was considered unmarried. 14. Second, the relation to head variable put all parents and parents-in-law into the general category of other relative. Since PNAD also had information on a woman s living sons and daughters however, we could infer that an elderly woman was in fact a parent/in-law from the age of the household head/spouse. Third, the 1998 PNAD collected information on home ownership for the entire household, not the elderly woman per se. The household head is whom was identified as such by respondents and was not necessarily the one who owned or rented the premises. 9

10 b. Covariates As the selection of covariates was intended to explore the main dimensions frequently associated with living arrangements of elderly population, we do not separate discussion of our model from our discussion of each covariate. That is, the indicators below help us consider kin availability, economic well-being and health status. In addition, we also include such demographic controls as age, and such socio-geographic factors as urban/rural residence, national region, education and race. i. Kin Availability. Our model includes a variable for the number of living children, a great advantage over other surveys that only have information of children ever born. We include a series of dummies and expect that a greater number of children to be positively associated with coresidence. The model also includes a variable for presence of a spouse, which was explained earlier since the 1998 PNAD did not have a direct indicator for marital status. It is expected that unmarried mothers would be more likely to coreside with their children than married mothers. However, as mentioned above spouses are generally older and less prepared to provide care giving. ii. Economic Well-Being 15 is indicated by two variables. The first is poverty. We used per capita household income and regional levels of poverty defined by Barros and Mendonça (1999) to categorize the household as above or below the poverty line. This variable is included to capture the association between poverty and the formation of extended living arrangements as a way of generating economies of scale in the household. Here it is important to mention that household income includes the income of elderly members. In fact, in the final sample, 22% of the household income came from elderly women s income. If the income of these women s spouses is considered, the proportion is even higher. Using per capita income takes into account the number of people in the household. The second indicator of economic well-being is personal income. Personal income includes resources from Social Security, government and retirement pensions, income from assets, and wages. We used the log of total personal income. We also added R$25.00 to everyone s income, partly because 1501 women had zero income, and also as a way to normalize this variable. Personal income is used to analyze the hypothesis that individuals prefer privacy and independent living. If this were true, we could 10

11 expect that Brazilian elderly females with adequate economic resources will be more likely to live without children. However, it is possible that elderly people use their income to help their children. In this case, higher income would be positively associated with coresidence with their children. iii. Health Status. Actually, we deal with disability status rather than health status. We expect the presence of disability to be associated with less independent living, partly because of scarce and inadequate governmental infrastructure and remote access to health care. Answers (0,1) to the question: Because of any impairment or health problem, does have any difficulty with personal care needs, such as eating, bathing, or getting around (going to the toilet)?. were categorized as ADL if they were cannot do alone and having a lot of difficulty and not having ADL if they were not having difficulty or having little difficulty. About 2/3 of all women self-reported ADL and the remaining 1/3 had this item answered by a proxy respondent. We opted for this measure of disability rather than the number of chronic conditions because in the latter accuracy of self-report varies depending on access to health care system 16. Therefore, since access to health care system is highly differentiated according to social classes in Brazil, that measure might be biased. Moreover, some chronic conditions have a bigger impact on functional limitation than others. Indeed, Fuchs et al. (1998) show that while diabetes, anemia and heart attack are associated with ADL and IADL, others such as arthritis did not present a significant association. Perceived health status is also available, but this variable is more likely to be affected by the living arrangement composition. In fact, better selfreported health may be a consequence of the living arrangement. Those who report their health status more truthfully may have a better support network, such as spouse and children, and they might be less concerned about their health since they are receiving good care from their children (Won and Lee, 1999). As a matter fact, Ramos et al. (1998) find that high prevalence of chronic conditions and ADLs is associated with a positive evaluation of perceived health. Therefore, the use of ADL as a measure of health status and disability seems to be a more objective measure. iv. Demographic Controls-Age. The literature suggests that age may be negatively associated with independent living because of the tendency for the prevalence of 11

12 chronic diseases and disabilities to increase with age. In fact, in terms of disabilities, less than 4% of women aged reported difficulties performing activities of daily living while 33% of those aged 85 or more did so. Although we use a direct indicator of disability, additionally controlling for age might help pick up tendencies that were not picked up by the other measure. It is important to note that different cohorts have been differentially exposed to mortality, as young cohorts experienced less severe mortality selection than older cohorts due to the secular decline of mortality in Brazil. Consequently, chronic conditions might be relatively worse among younger cohorts, as more of them might have died if it were not for advances in medicine. In fact, women aged reported an average of 2.1 chronic conditions, the same as women aged 85 or more. v. Socio-geographic Controls. The model includes a series of dummies for region in Brazil (North, Northeast, Southeast, South and Central-West). Regions are very different both in terms of economic development and in terms of racial composition. In terms of living arrangements, Saad (1998) found that higher income in the Southeast region in Brazil was associated with increases in the probability of independent living arrangements whereas in the Northeast higher income was associated with a higher probability of coresidence with unmarried children. A second socio-geographical indicator included in our model is urban-rural residence. Urban-rural residence In Brazil is an important factor because 80% of the total population live in urban areas. There are good reasons to expect urban/rural residence to make a difference, but what kind is unclear (e.g. Martin and Kinsella, 1994). On the one hand, economic theory posits that urbanization and industrialization are associated with increased individualism and weaker ties between generations. But crowding and elevated living costs may lead to more coresidence in urban areas of less developed countries. A third socio-geographical variable included in our model is race. Race is an important indicator of ethnicity and social inequality that seems to persist despite attempts at introducing such measures as income, education or region. The notion of race is much less clear in Brazil than in U.S.; a demonstration of the looseness of the race concept in Brazil can be inferred from the fact that millions of Brazilians change 12

13 their race over their lifetime (Carvalho et al., 2000). It is also self-reported and we can expect that it is also capturing some of the association between socioeconomic and living arrangements. Self-reported, race in the 1998 PNAD is coded as White, Black, Pardo (mixtures of different kinds), and Other (usually indigenous or Asian - this last group often referred as yellow ). Since mixing is common in Brazil, it is possible that the children of these women have different races. A fourth socio-geogrpahical variable included in our model is education. We use number of years of schooling but code education as illiterate, 1-3 years (functional illiterate), 4-8 years (some primary school), 9-11 years (some secondary school), and 12+ years (secondary school or more). It is important to mention that the number of years was not directly obtained in the PNAD, but was constructed based on an algorithm that used many questions on educational attainment and attendance. In the Brazilian case, its use is preferable to the self-report about the last completed degree because repetition and dropouts are much more frequent and also because the sequences changed over time. 3. Model We estimate a multinomial logit model because this is a good way to deal with a 4- category dependent variable, the reference category being WITHOUT CHILDREN. The predictor variables, often turned into dummies themselves, are number of living children, whether spouse is present (yes/no), poverty (yes/no), income, disability (yes/no), age, region, urban/rural residence, race, and education. Women who had no children were not included in the contrasts between WITHOUT CHILDREN and WITH CHILD(REN) or IN CHILD S HOME and married women were not included in the contrast between WITHOUT CHILDREN and OTHER as people in the OTHER living arrangement could not, by definition, have a spouse. C. RESULTS 1. Description of the Data Table 1 presents descriptive statistics for the variables in our model. In Brazil, as in 13

14 other Latin American countries, the majority of elderly women share a household with their children (Palloni, 2001). Only a minority lives independently, either alone or only with their spouse (34.6%) while 57% live with children and less than 10% live in other types of living arrangements. Elderly women are disproportionately concentrated in the Southeast region. While 43% of the total population resides in this region, about half of all women in our sample live the Southeast. Most elderly females reside in urban areas, about the same proportion as for the total population. The mean age in our sample is about 73 years and it is interesting to note that mean age is higher between those living IN CHILD S HOME and WITH OTHERS. The lowest mean age is found for those living WITH CHILDREN. This indicates that living in the child s household is associated with older age. As mentioned above, this may be associated with widowhood, financial, physical and emotional constrains that trigger mothers to move into their children s home or to loss of the household headship at older ages. Less than 2% of the whole sample does not have a living child. Therefore, structural constrains are not present for most of the women in Brazil. Most elderly women were reported to be White and about a third Pardo. Table 1. Blacks and Pardos has a higher probability of living WITH CHILD(REN) in their own household and WITH OTHERS. Whites, on the other hand, seem more likely to live independently. About 20% of the sample lives in a household below the poverty level, but only 10% of those living WITHOUT CHILDREN are in poor households. On the other extreme, almost 40% of elderly women living WITH OTHERS are in households below the poverty level. Educational levels among elderly women are low, helping to illustrate the precarious access to education in the past. It is impressive that about 48% of all elderly women are illiterate (have less than one year of schooling) and that only 1.9% studied for 12 years or more. Less than 9% of the elderly women report an ADL, but it is remarkable that about 17% of women living IN CHILD S HOME have difficulty performing activities such as eating. This reinforces the hypothesis that these women move into their child s home due to physical constraints and lack of other sources of care. Here it is important to mention that the prevalence of disability is extremely low when compared with other studies in Brazil. For instance, Ramos et al. (1998) found that only 63% of all elderly women in that sample required assistance to perform at least one activity. Part of this 14

15 difference is attributable to different measures of ADL. Here we use a simple question that combines the main limitations of activity of daily living. Their study includes a checklist of 15 factors that include, in fact, ADL and IADL. 15

16 Variable WITHOUT CHILD WITH CHILD(REN) IN CHILD'S HOME WITH OTHERS TOTAL Sample size % (Weighted) Region North Northeast Southeast South Central-West Urban-Rural Rural Urban Age Spouse No Yes Living Children None or more Race White Black Pardo Other races Poverty No Yes Mean income of all sources Education Illiterate or more ADL No Yes (*) Weighted percentages and means. 16

17 2. The Multinomial Model Multinomial logistic results suggest that residency in South and Central-West regions are associated with more independent living. Table 2. This is interesting because the South region is different culturally from the rest of the country given the high percentage of its population that has recent European ancestry. On the other hand, residency in the North region is associated with a higher chance of living IN CHILD S HOME. It is important to mention that these results remain significant even after controlling for poverty. (In a run that did not include poverty [not shown] Region has almost all coefficients significant.) In fact, different regions in Brazil differ significantly in terms of economic development, race and culture. Therefore, as suspected, it is important to control for region when analyzing Brazilian data. Urban residence is associated with a higher level co-residence. Table 2. The high prevalence of residence with children in Brazil indicates that the high urbanization experienced in the last decades did not undermine the importance of family ties and values associated with intergenerational exchange. On the contrary, results indicate that urbanization, probably by increasing the housing costs, is associated with higher levels of co-residence. Saad (1998) finds the same about the Northeast of Brazil. That author explains this finding as a consequence of the strong out-migration in rural areas that reduces the chances of parents and children being in the same area. Age is associated with an increase in the chance of a mother s residence in CHILD S HOME relative to independent living. Table 2. As mentioned before, mothers are more likely to be older than fathers and increases in age are associated with increases in widowhood and disabilities. This may explain the negative association between age and having a child in the parent s household ( WITH CHILD(REN) ) as the latter category is usually comprised of parents and their not-yet married children. On the other hand, with increases in age, it is likely that mothers move into their child s home or have given headship over to a child(in-law). Marital status is strongly associated with living arrangements. Table 2. Being married is negatively associated with the presence of children in the own household. Indeed, having a spouse reduces by 30% the chances of having a child residing in the parental household and practically reduces to zero the chances of living IN CHILD S 17

18 HOME. This finding is consistent with Saad (1998). In his study he found that residence with children is higher among unmarried females. The availability of children is, in general, associated with less independent living and higher chances of having a child residing in the mother s own household. Table 2. Increase in the number of living children is positively associated with living WITH CHILD(REN). This effect of number of living children is less strong for the contrast between independent living and residence IN CHILD S HOME. It is striking how strong is the association between not having a living child and living WITH OTHERS relative to independent living. Blacks and Pardos have a higher probability of coresiding with their children in their own households relative to independent living arrangements than do Whites. Table 2. Blacks also have a higher probability of living WITH OTHERS. Poverty is associated with less independent residence. Table 2. In fact, women living in poor households are more likely to live WITH CHILD(REN), IN CHILD S HOME and WITH OTHERS relative to living independently. This supports the results presented in Table 1 indicating that women in more independent living arrangements are better off than those residing with their children or WITH OTHERS. The finding is consistent with the idea that low-income individuals tend to co-reside in order to obtain economies of scale. Increase in the personal income of mothers is positively associated with higher chance of having a child living in the maternal household rather than living independently. Table 2. This result is contrary to economic arguments for the opposite, and it may be that children who live in their mother s household benefit from their mother s better economic situation. De Vos (1989) suggest that grown children in Latin America prefer to live in a separate living, however this preference is constrained by the capacity to afford housing. If this holds, then mothers act altruistically by providing a housing to their children in economic disadvantage. At the same time, with a better economic situation, mothers seem to prefer to live more independently than living IN CHILD S HOME. Table 2. This finding is consistent with the idea that mothers in a better socioeconomic situation prefer to live independently or to live in their own 18

19 households. Therefore, this finding suggests that higher income allows women to effectively realize their desires. In other words, there is some indication that mothers move into their children s home if they are under financial or physical constraints. Alternatively, mothers in worse economic situation may be more likely to have lower power and to have a child assuming the household headship. Most of the results associating coresidence with children and education are not significant. Table 2. This may be due to the fact that education means less for these women because education is not translated into a higher participation in the labor force or in a different set of social values. As expected, the presence of disabilities is positively associated with less independent living. Table 2. Moreover, the association between ADL and living IN CHILD S HOME is strong. Again, there is indication that mothers move into their children s home to obtain the necessary care that helps ease the suffering associated with alterations in lifestyle that are caused by disability. Also, disabled mothers may relinquish headship and the responsibility of maintaining a household. 19

20 Variable WITH CHILD(REN) IN CHILD'S HOME WITH OTHERS Coef. s.e. Coef. s.e. Coef. s.e. Region North *** *** Northeast *** Southeast South *** *** Central-West * ** Urban-Rural Rural Urban *** ** *** Age *** *** *** Spouse No Yes *** *** Living Children *** *** *** None *** *** * *** *** * *** * or more *** Race White Black *** *** Pardo *** * Other races ** Poverty No Yes *** *** *** Mean income of all sources ** *** *** Education Illiterate *** * ** ** ** *** 12 or more *** ADL No Yes *** *** ** Intercept

21 D. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The purpose of this paper was to examine the living arrangements of elderly Brazilian women 65+ in We developed a multivariate model in which living arrangements were considered a function of kinship availability (indicated by number of living children and by whether a spouse was present), economic well-being (indicated by poverty and income), and health status (indicated by having a functional disability or ADL). We further included age, region, urban-rural residence, race and education in the model. Using the 1998 PNAD, we estimated the model with multinomial logistic regression. The results provide some insights into the role of coresidence in the wellbeing of elderly mothers, and the possible outcome of different pension and health policy. As expected, kinship availability had a big effect. Number of children tended to be positively associated with the likelihood that women would live with some of her children in her own household. However, given the declines in fertility since the late 60s, future cohorts will have fewer available children although few elderly women are likely to be completely childless in the near future. Therefore, the effect of the fertility decline may be moderate, as has been observed in other countries (e.g., Knodel et al., 1992). At the same time, the mortality differentials are projected to increase 17 and this will generate a higher proportion of widows. Controlling for other factors it appears that widows are quite likely to live in a child s home compared to independently. Increases in life expectancy will also influence the length of time that parents and their children could theoretically co-reside. Children will probably be asked to take care of their parents for a longer period. This could represent quite a burden if those extra years are not disability-free. At the same time, if the situation Social Security or pensions deteriorated, elderly population people would have both lower income and lower bargaining power. In this circumstance, probably only norms and social values related to familism would keep children caring for elderly parents Economic factors also had a big effect on elderly women s living arrangements. First, there is some evidence that mothers prefer to live independently under favorable economic conditions because income is negatively associated with living in a child s 21

22 home. Given the increase in female labor force participation in the last few decades, many elderly women will have their own benefits and will live independently or in households in which their children are under parental control. However, constraints in the pension system may change this scenario, if pensions are reduced substantially. In this case, children may be an important source of care - though, children may feel less motivated to take care of parents under economic hardship. Second, we found that being in poverty was positively associated with elderly women living in their child(ren) s household. This suggests that poor elderly women are more likely to rely on their families as an important source of financial and emotional support. The lack of marital status limits the analysis, but there is some indication that poor elderly women are less likely to maintain the household headship. This may have consequences on their well-being. More specifically, the loss of the headship may represent a loss of power and autonomy in their health expenditures and food consumption, among other things. Actually, there is some indication that mothers who are better off tend to help their children rather than (or in addition to) the other way around. Additional research is necessary to evaluate for instance, whether children living in a parent s household are less likely to be employed than those offering support to parents in their own household. Barros et al. (1999) provide a good example of transfers to children. They find that 23% of elderly people in Brazil are poor. However simulations indicate that 72% of the elderly population would be in a poor household if their income were reduced to zero. Therefore, the well-being of most of the households with elderly people depends on the income of their elderly members. Our findings supported the idea that functional limitation (as measured with ADLs) was associated with living with children or others. Our measurement of health status may not have been too discerning however as the most disabled group lived in a child s household, and even then less than a fifth of the elderly women in our sample had an ADL. Indeed, other measurement schemes have included more limitations although their association with independent living is unclear. At present, there does not seem to be a good indicator for the type of disability that would lead to living in a child s household. Given that the 1998 PNAD collected a lot of health information, future 22

23 research could help identify what limitations were important. Our findings also supported the idea that a statistical analysis of all of Brazil would best control for Region (North, Northeast, Southeast, South and Central-West), race (White, Black, Pardo and Other), and urban/rural residence. The country is just too diverse to make generalizations otherwise. Oppositely, we found our attempt to control for social stratification with educational achievement unproductive. The role of education in understanding the living arrangements of elderly people stays enigmatic (e.g., Bongaarts and Zimmer, 2002; De Vos, 1990). An issue raised by Bongaarts and Zimmer (2002) among others has to do with the sex of the co-residing child.. Many societies, especially those in East Asia, emphasize the responsibility of sons (often the oldest son) toward his parents. But the Brazilian evidence is not consistent with this. In fact, the mean number of sons and daughters residing in the mother s household is similar (0.81 and 0.75, respectively) but when mothers move into a CHILD S HOME, daughters are the main source of care (0.74 vs for sons). The analysis was limited by the lack of data on marital status. We had to impute whether or not a spouse was present in the household of an elderly women, and we could not determine well at all whether or not adult children were married. With direct information on marital status, household composition could be better defined and inferences about life course transitions would be facilitated. We also need a better understanding of household headship. Specifically, we need to better understand the causes and mechanisms through which headship is transferred from parents to children. This includes a better understanding of the characteristics of the children who live with elderly parents. Of particular interest are the children s income and labor force participation status. In this case, the mapping of intergenerational economic transfers through co-residence would be improved. Finally, information on the exchange on goods and services within the household would be useful for understanding the benefits and disadvantages of co-residing. We used a living arrangements scheme that required elderly women to have living children. Otherwise, living with a child would not be an option. Fortunately, this was not an unreasonable requirement as less than 2% of the elderly women in our sample 23

24 did not have a living child. However, given the declines in fertility since the late 60s, childlessness will be a concern among future cohorts. At that time, it may be difficult to make meaningful comparisons with figures such as ours. While our intention was to provide insight into the living arrangements situation of elderly Brazilian women 65+ in 1998, we must emphasize that this is a depiction of a situation that will be very different in the future. Changes being brought by the modernization process urbanization, fertility decline, increased life expectancy, and female participation in the labor force, among others will probably reduce considerably the co-residence of generations. This may be particularly problematic for developing countries in which this process is occurring at a much faster pace than was the case in more developed countries. Society in less developed countries must deal both with less time to adjust to this process and less institutional facility to make the adjustment. As a consequence, conditions among elders may deteriorate. Most governments are at least now aware of population aging and some of them have been trying to stimulate families to support the elderly population, especially through coresidence. However, as mentioned by Ogawa and Retherford (1997) that aim is not based on a good understanding of the forces involved, and it is unlikely that a simple approach will succeed. References Allen, S.M., Desirée Ciambrone, Lisa C. Welch (2000). Stage of Life Course and Social Support as a Mediator of Mood State Among Persons with Disability. Journal of Aging and Health, 12(3): Barros, R. P., Rosane Mendonça, Daniel Santos (1999). Incidência e natureza da pobreza entre idosos no Brasil. Texto para Discussão n IPEA. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Barros, R.P., Rosane Mendonça (1999). Uma caracterização das condições de pobreza e de desigualdade no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, IPEA, 11p. mimeo. Bongaarts, John and Zachary Zimmer "Living Arrangements of Older Adults in the Developing World: An Analysis of Demographic and Health Survey Household 24

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