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The impact of changes in China's family patterns on family pension functions

The International Journal of Health Planning and Management

Published online on


Using data from the Chinese census and the China Statistical Yearbook, this paper will analyze the historical changes and future trends of family households in China over the past 30 years and explore the changes of family pension functions and corresponding policies. Our analysis yielded 3 notable results. First, in family size miniaturization and structural simplification, 1‐ and 2‐generation family households are the main body of contemporary China. Second, for family aging and changes in living patterns, which primarily manifest as an increase in; the proportion of elderly households and in middle‐aged and elderly people in the family, the elderly model and the “multigenerational model” have become the 2 major residence models for the elderly in China. Third, nontraditional families have emerged in large numbers, such as the exclusively elderly family, empty nest family, grandparents family, Double Income, No Kids (DINK) family, older single family, and single‐parent family. We argue that in the process of simplification, China's family structure is increasingly showing characteristics of networking. The change in family patterns entails the restoration of traditional functions and taking on new functions of the family by issuing relevant social policies. Only when these social policies are based on family functions and demands can they provide effective help to social members, particularly regarding the family's responsibilities to parent children and support the elderly.