Economic Stress and Mortality for the Oldest-Old in China

Wei-Jun Jean Yeung, National University of Singapore
Zhenhua Xu, Peking University

China’s oldest-old population is estimated to quadruple by 2050. Yet, the poverty rate for the oldest-old is the highest among all age groups in China. This paper investigates the relationship between economic stress and mortality among the oldest-old in China. Both objective economic hardships and perceived economic strain are examined. We base our investigation on data drawn from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey conducted between 2000 and 2005. We find that economic stress is negatively associated with the quality of medical care and mental well-being which contribute to the higher mortality rate for the oldest-old. Results also show that the perceived economic strain increases the mortality risk by 40 percent in rural areas but not in urban areas. For rural oldest-olds, having children as a main source of income and having a pension alleviate the impact of economic hardship and reduce the mortality hazard by 23 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

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Presented in Session 14: Economic Conditions and Mortality