n?u=RePEc:ipe:ipetds:0113&r=hap

repec.nep.hap

n?u=RePEc:ipe:ipetds:0113&r=hap

were not considered dependents though “other relatives” were. They are formed ofparents, parents-in-law and aunts of the family head. In general, they are poorer thanother family members [Camarano and El Ghaouri (1999)]. Table 2 points to anincrease in the proportion of elderly heads and spouses and to a reduction in theproportion of “other relatives”. Also, the proportion of the elderly living alone isincreasing. The proportion of women living alone is higher than the comparablefigure for men. About 50% of elderly Brazilian women are widows. This is probablya result of lower female mortality rates and of nuptiality patterns. Women face moredifficulties than men do in remarry as there are lesser partners available for women. Itis quite common for men to marry younger women.It is customary to think that industrialization, urbanization or the modern wayof life has destroyed familial ties, especially among the generations. Recent studieshave shown that the universazalition of the social security, health policies andimprovements in medical technology and certain other technological advances suchas telecommunications, elevators, automobiles, etc., suggest that the elderly whomanage to live alone may be more a reflection of a successful and new way of ageingrather than familial abandonment or solitude [Debert (1999)]. All these indicatorssuggest a reduction in family dependence on the part of the Brazilian elderly duringthe considered time-period. This was clearer among urban families.According to the above mentioned indicator, dependence is higher in urbanareas as compared to rural areas (see Table 2). This could be explained by the higherproportion of women living with relatives in urban areas as compared to rural ones.Or, in other words, it could be a compositional effect. As mentioned before, althoughthey live longer than men, they experience a higher incidence of biological disabilitydue to chronic diseases [Nogales (1988)] and stronger psychological ties with theirrelatives [Goldani (1999)]. The proportion of “other relatives” increases with age[Camarano and El Ghaouri (1999)]. As women live longer, they tend to spend moretime as dependents. Also, for this elderly female generation, their dependence may bemore a result of low social status, low participation in labour market in the pastrather than ageing itself. For them were important marriage and motherhood.Changes in family dependence were more important among women than menregardless of whether they were living in rural or urban areas (see Graph 2). Also,reduction of poverty was more marked among them, especially among those in ruralareas (see Graph 2). Certainly, the two situations are interconnected. The extensionof Social security pensions to women aged 55 and over after 1991, as will be seen inthe fourth section, played a very important role in changing the status of elderlywomen.8

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