Older Carers and Social Division of Welfare in China

Chak Kwan CHAN*, Jianling LIANG, Meng Soi Florence FONG, Sheung Wan WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This study used the social division of welfare approach to analyze how Chinese older carers have access unequally to pensions, medical insurance, and public assistance schemes. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 40 older carers aged 60 years or above who were taking care of their family members with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The amount of pension and coverage of medical insurance of these respondents and their care recipients was affected by their employment, types of employers, and living locations. Moreover, the older carers’ capacity to address financial and medical burdens was associated with the available support from their family members, especially their adult children. This paper concludes that the social division of welfare amongst older carers was driven by China’s market-oriented pension and medical insurance reforms, decentralization of welfare provisions, and the welfare capacity of families. Future studies can examine the social division of welfare among young and minority ethnic carers and adopt a comparative approach to analyze factors shaping unequal access to welfare benefits among older carers in different countries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Social division of welfare
  • older carers
  • market-oriented pension and medical schemes
  • decentralization
  • family capacities


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