Qin Gao | Journal of Aging & Social Policy | May 24

Population aging has been occurring rapidly in China. It raises the issue of unmet needs of health-related consumption among older families. Using data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study and a propensity score matching method, this article examines whether welfare receipt is associated with changed consumption patterns among older families (i.e., main respondent was 60 years old or older or whose spouse was 60 years old or older if married). We found that welfare receipt was significantly associated with increased health expenditures of older families in rural but not in urban China. In neither area did it affect these families’ spending to meet daily survival needs such as food and clothing. For rural older families, welfare receipt was associated with increased expenditures on informal health care. It also enabled less vulnerable households to have more self-treatment expenses. However, welfare receipt did not boost expenditures on clinic and hospital visits for either rural or urban families.

Originally published in the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. Read the full study here.