KINSHIP PATTERNS AND HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION AMONG ELDERLY HUNGARIAN WOMEN, 1984
Douglas A. Wolf
In Hungary, as in many other countries in Europe and elsewhere, the population has been becoming more aged for many years. The phenomenon of population aging is projected to continue for several decades. For example, the percentage of the population aged 60 and over in Hungary rose from 11.3 in 1950 to 18.2 in 1985; the most recent projections by the United Nations ( 1988) indicate a further rise, to 24.2 percent, by 2025. The increasing numerical importance of the elderly has tended to focus the attention of scholars and policymakers on issues relating to the living conditions of the elderly. Their household structure and family relations have received particular attention; in the case of Hungary's older population, for example, the importance of family relations has been stressed by Cseh- Szombathy ( 1983, 1987) and Klinger ( 1986).
Accompanying the trend toward a more elderly society has been a trend toward smaller households in the population at large but also among the elderly population. Several recent papers--for example, Keilman ( 1987), Link ( 1987), and Schwartz ( 1988)--have documented the trend toward smaller households in postwar Europe. An intriguing question, of course, is whether there is an association between population age structure--that is, its age composition--and the size distribution of households containing elderly people. A rather simple argument suggests that there is such an association. Population aging is, to a great extent,the consequence of reduced fertility; when those cohorts whose reduced fertility caused the aging themselves reach old age, they have