Effect of Parent-Child Relationship on Children's Well-Being in China

Jihong Liu, Harvard University

Recent studies suggest that child abandonment and adoption increased in the 1980s with the tightening of family planning programs in China. However, little is known about whether adoptive relationship influences children's well-being compared to biological relationship. Using data from the 1992 China Survey on Situation of Children, we investigate the effect of parent-child relationship on children's well-being, measured by education status and health indicators (including immunization status, morbidity and nutritional status). Only children from one-child families were studied. Results indicate that adoptive children had significant higher odds of being never immunized and not enrolled in schools than biological children. Unexpectedly, adoptive children were not worse off than biological children in nutritional status and biological children had even higher odds of reported illness than adoptive children. Results also show that sons were more likely to be enrolled in schools than girls while no other gender gaps were found in other well-being indicators.

Presented in Session 100: Gender Differentials in Child Health in Developing Countries