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Changing intergenerational transfers, household structure, and the wellbeing of elderly people in Bangladesh

Sarah White


In the 1970s and 1980s, commentators on Bangladesh attributed high levels of fertility in part to the reliance on children as security in old age. Since then, Bangladesh has undergone a rapid fertility decline, along with a host of other forms of social and economic change. This paper considers evidence on shifts in household composition and intergenerational transfers and asks what these mean for the wellbeing of elderly people. Against a review of the broader literature on these issues, it presents new data from primary research on wellbeing in two districts in Bangladesh in the mid-2000s. These suggest significant hazards with respect to older people’s wellbeing, in the form of increased levels of transfer from older to younger generations; changing household structures and family relations resulting in reduced security for care in old age; and challenges to older people’s ideals about the entitlements proper to their stage in life, and more broadly their sense of how things are and ought to be.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


1 Changing Intergenerational Transfers... PDF 246.7 KB

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