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The Role of Formal Versus Informal Support of the Elderly in Singapore: Is There Substitution?

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This paper examines the relationship between formal and familial support of Singaporean elderly using data from the 1995 National Survey of Senior Citizens. We test whether the availability of formal support is associated with a decrease in the propensity of elderly individuals to rely on children. The findings show that elderly respondents with CPF accounts are significantly less likely to rely on children as their main source of financial support. Other socioeconomic characteristics of seniors have significant effects on reliance on children. Older seniors, females, seniors with little or no education, widowers, and seniors in poor health, and Chinese elderly, are significantly more likely to rely on children. The evidence suggests that as CPF coverage widens, reliance on children will probably decrease.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology National University of Singapore


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