Population ageing trend and changes in family structure

By 2038, nearly one-third of Hong Kong’s population will be 65 years or older. Meanwhile, considerable changes in Hong Kong's family structure have occurred with the decline in the country’s birth rate. According to government statistics, a couple in Hong Kong has approximately 1.2 to 1.3 children on average, and the average family has approximately 2.7 members, indicating that there is a general increase in the number of older adults who live alone or the amount of intergenerational contact these older adults have with their adult children and grandchildren. Thus, older adults often lack grandparenting experience or opportunities to practice grandparent roles.

Importance of intergenerational relationships within family

Studies have suggested that the better the relationship between parents and their adult children, the greater their self-image and satisfaction with life are, which bespeaks that good intergenerational relationships can promote active and healthy ageing.

Intergenerational relationships also affect the care planning and arrangements of older people within families. Older people and their adult children often have low consensus on the valuation of care responsibilities for older people, reflecting a certain degree of intergenerational difference in current Hong Kong society. Given the decline in emotional intimacy between generations and the lack of consensus on values and attitudes, intergenerational conflicts are likely to occur, which are not conducive to the health and well-being of older people or to the creation of a harmonious family and society.

Research Directions

- Family relations and older people’s self-image, satisfaction with life and subjective well-being

- Intergenerational relationships and future care arrangements

- Intergenerational relationships and positive ageing

- Multigenerational unity and harmony

Research Projects

Research project visualization 11Enhancement of Positive Ageing, Family Relations, and Quality of Later Life

(2020-2024)

Funded by Research Matching Grant Scheme

Research project visualization 12Individual Efforts or Intergenerational Responses? A Longitudinal Mixed Methods Study of Future Care Planning Among Hong Kong Ageing Families

(2019-2022)

Funded by General Research Fund, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong

Research project visualization 13Gearing Up for Third Age and Multigenerational Capacity Building

(2019–2022)

Funded by Lee Kum Kee Family Foundation

Research project visualization 14Intergenerational Relationship Quality and Care Expectations of Ageing Parents in Hong Kong

(2016-2017)

Funded by General Research Fund Early Career Scheme, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong

Research project visualization 15Empowerment and Optimisation of Intergenerational Coparenting Mechanisms in Chinese Urban Families with 1–3-Year-Old Children

(2019-2022)

Funded by National Social Science Foundation of China

 Publications

  1. Bai, X.and Liu, C. (2020). Financial strain and attitude toward retirement among aging Chinese adults: The influence of family. Family Relations. Online First, https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12467
  2. Bai, X., Li, Z. L., Chen, J., Liu, C., and Wu, X.G. (2020). Socioeconomic inequalities in mental distress and life satisfaction among older Chinese men and women: The role of family functioning. Health and Social Care in the Community, Online First, https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12960
  3. Bai, X., Lai, D., and Liu, C. (2020). Ageing Chinese adults voice their personal care expectations: Evidence and service implications. Health and Social Care in the Community, Online First, https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12940 
  4. Bai, X.(2019). Whom should I rely on for my future care? Patterns in care expectations and their intergenerational correlates among Hong Kong Chinese ageing adults. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27(1), 115–125.
  5. Bai, X.(2018). Development and validation of a multidimensional Intergenerational Relationship Quality Scale for Aging Chinese parents. The Gerontologist, 58(6), e338-e348.
  6. Bai, X.(2018). Hong Kong Chinese aging adults voice financial care expectations: Implications for policy and services. Journal of Aging and Social Policy, Online Firstdoi: 10.1080/08959420.2018.1471308.