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The Structure of Intergenerational Relations in Rural China: A Latent Class Analysis



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 75, Issue 5, 1319, Article first published online: 3 September 2013

  • School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Montgomery Ross Fisher Building, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411.

  • Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and School of Social Work, Syracuse University, 200 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-1020.

School of Social Work, University of Iowa, 308 North Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242-1223 (


Most existing typology studies of intergenerational relations have used samples in North America and Europe. The present study expands on previous research by determining whether similar family relation typologies could be found using a sample of Chinese rural elders. The data were derived from a survey of 1,224 older adults in China's rural Anhui province in 2009. Latent class analysis revealed 5 types of intergenerational relations in rural Chinese families: (a) tight-knit, (b) nearby but discordant, (c) distant discordant, (d) distant reciprocal, and (e) distant ascending. The authors argue that the distant ascending ties reflect the strong filial obligations that Chinese adult children have toward their parents and that the distant reciprocal ties reflect collaborative and mutually beneficial parent–child relations in rural China in the context of massive rural-to-urban migration. The findings of this study demonstrate how family relations in contemporary China are shaped by the larger economic, geographic, and cultural contexts.

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