Family size and old age well-being: effects of the fertility transition in Mexico

Díaz-Venegas, C., Sáenz, J. L., Wong, R.

Ageing and Society, 37:3, 495-516 (2017)



The present study aims to determine how family size affects psycho-social, economic and health wellbeing in old age differently across two cohorts with declining fertility. The data are from the 2012 Mexican Health and Ageing Study (MHAS) including respondents aged 50+ (N = 13,102). Poisson (standard and zero-inflated) and logistic regressions are used to model determinants of wellbeing in old age: psycho-social (depressive symptoms), economic (consumer durables and insurance) and health (chronic conditions). In the younger cohort, having fewer children is associated with fewer depressive symptoms and chronic conditions, and better economic wellbeing. For the older cohort, having fewer children is associated with lower economic wellbeing and higher odds of being uninsured. Lower fertility benefited the younger cohort (born after 1937), whereas the older cohort (born in 1937 or earlier) benefited from lower fertility only in chronic conditions. Further research is needed to continue exploring the old-age effects of the fertility transition.