Aiding and Aging: The Coming Crisis in Support for the Elderly by Kin and State

By John Mogey | Go to book overview

8
FAMILY CONDITIONS OF OLD PERSONS IN HUNGARY: DEMOGRAPHIC ASPECTS

Andras Klinger

Significant changes in the age and sex structure of old people occurring in the last decades exerted a great impact on their family status. The increase in the oldest and the growing female surplus augmented the number of persons living outside close family bonds. The numbers of those living alone without any family or household relations increased. For these persons the problems of provision and support cannot be solved anymore by the family. Their problems are especially urgent and need a social care program.

Data on family status in a stricter sense are available only for the last two decades, but their trends reflect the basic processes. Between 1960 and 1984 among old people, the proportion of those living in a marital relation slightly decreased and the share of those living with another family, mainly as a widowed parent, fell even more, from 29 percent to 22 percent. On the other hand, among persons of 60 years and older, the proportion of those living alone grew significantly: from 15 percent to 22 percent. This means that while in 1960 200,000 old persons were forced to live alone, by 1984 nearly 430,000 did.

This general tendency in itself causes great problems of care and provision. When looked at by sex and age groups, the distribution of family status between the two sexes is not identical, nor does it develop parallelly in time. Among males the share of those living together with a spouse is much higher than among females (78% as against the 39% of the females). On the other hand, a much greater number of women live as family members as compared to men (30% as against the 10% of the males). Compared to the 1960 situation, the ratio of persons living as family members decreased for both sexes, but, to a greater extent in the

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