Economic Satisfaction of the Elderly in Rural Tamil Nadu: A Study with Special Reference to the Madurai District

Ramu Hariharan


The elderly in the rural areas of India are suffering due to separation or loneliness resulting from urbanization and emergence or increase of nuclear families. Within the elderly population individuals differ, not only in their socio-demographic, economic and health characteristics, but also by their gender roles in various aspects of life. This paper explores the gender differences of the rural elderly population in their socio-demographic, economic and health characteristics in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu. The data, collected from 160 elderly persons in four villages of the Madurai district selected through a disproportionate stratified random based on the number of households, reveal that most of the rural elderly males were older and married, while most elderly females were widowed. Elderly males mostly lived with their spouses and elderly females with their children. Marital status was found to be the most positive significant variable to an increase in economic wellbeing of the rural elderly, and living arrangements were found to be a significant negative one. The elderly suffer either by not receiving sufficient economic support, physical support, or both to some extent. This is due to a rising cost of living, less or no reliable employment opportunities in the village, and increasing nuclear families. They opined that the government should provide employment opportunities for the elderly, as well as other educational and health infrastructural facilities for their children in their rural localities, and that the government should accelerate the eligibility criteria and proper implementation of an old-age pension scheme. Elderly people requested this so that rural-urban movement of their children could be stopped to ensure their economic and physical supports for the long run.

Keywords: Economic well-being, Gender, Madurai, Rural elderly, Tamil Nadu


Economic well-being; Gender; Madurai; Rural elderly; Tamil Nadu

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Copyright (c) 2012 Ramu Hariharan

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