return icon

The generation of elderly who do not live with their children

The rate of elderly living with their children and grandchildren is decreasing, while the rate of people living alone or living with their husband or wife is gradually increasing.



Illustrative image.


Though they have two sons, Mr. Vinh and Mrs. Nga surprised many people when they refused to live with any of them. Although both of their sons live and work in Hanoi, when they got married, they were asked to live separately.

“I used to be a daughter-in-law so I understand the inconveniences of living together. That's why my husband and I allowed my sons to live separately after they got married," Mrs. Nga said.

Three years ago, when the second son got married, he could not afford to buy a house of his own, and asked his parents to allow he and his wife to live with them for a while, but Mrs. Nga gave him only three months. If he could not buy a house, he would rent one.

Mrs. Nga explained: "The lifestyle of the two generations are completely different. When he was single, there was a gap between us. Now with the daughter-in-law, living together for a long time will create conflicts."

Mrs. Nga’s first son bought a house that is nearly ten kilometers away from his parents to make it easier for him to go to work, while the second son bought an apartment very near to his parents' house. Sometimes on weekends, they gather to eat and drink at their parent’s house.

Asked what they will do in the future when Nga and her husband get old and weak, Nga said: "We plan to sell this 4-storey house and use half of the money to buy an apartment. The other half is for the future. If we are too weak, we can hire someone to take care of us or go to a nursing home.”

More elderly people live separately



Illustrative image.


According to a survey of the Institute of Population, Health and Development in 2020, with the participation of over 6,000 elderly people nationwide, about 19.4% of elderly people lived separately, with their wife or husband; 8.6% lived alone; and 61.3% lived with at least one biological child.

Another study on the role of the elderly in an aging Vietnamese society by Dr. Tran Thi Minh Thi, Director of the Institute for Family and Gender Studies, provided significant data, with the participation of over 300 elderlies in Ninh Binh province and 500 elderlies in Da Nang.

Specifically, the rate of elderly living alone increased from 3.47% in 1992-1993 to 20.5% in 2017. The rate of elderly living with their wife or husband increased from 9.48% in 1992-1993 to 50.4% in 2017.

The percentage of elderly living with their children decreased from 79.73% in 1992-1993 to 28.4% in 2017.

This study affirms that the tradition of the elderly living with their children and grandchildren in multi-generational families remains but there have been changes. Specifically, care for the elderly is gradually shifting from direct care to indirect care, from material care to emotional and spiritual care.

The rate of elderly living with their children and grandchildren is decreasing, while the rate of people living alone or living with their husband or wife is gradually increasing.

The study by Dr. Tran Thi Minh Thi highlighted a number of reasons for the change in care and accommodation arrangements of the elderly in Vietnam.

“The first is because migration of young people tends to increase, especially rural-urban migration, so the number of elderlies in communities tends to increase. Secondly, the participation in the labor market of young and middle-aged people in Vietnam is quite high, plus there is pressure of work and children, so it is difficult for them to have time to take care of their parents. The third is the participation in the labor market of the group that holds the main role in caring for the family – women - is quite high. Fourthly, the fertility rate is decreasing compared to previous decades, so the number of people taking care of the elderly is decreasing,” said Dr. Thi.

Dr. Le Ngoc Van (senior advisor of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences), and author of several books on Vietnamese family culture, said that, compared with the traditional family in the past, more elderly people do not want to live with their children and grandchildren, and conversely, some married adults want to live separately from their parents and grandparents.

“First of all, it reflects parents' respect for their children's privacy and freedom, and does not interfere deeply with their children's decision-making and autonomy in life. On the other hand, elderly people who are healthy, have income, and are not economically dependent on their children also have a need to live separately to be more comfortable,” he said.

Dr. Le Ngoc Van also cites data from the National Survey on the Elderly (2020) to show that, among elderly people living alone, up to 56.7% have their children living in the same commune or ward and 43.3% have their children not living in the same commune or ward.

Thus, the fact that children live close or far away is not the reason the elderly live separately. The main reason is that the elderly people want to be free in choosing and arranging their own accommodation.

According to a national survey of the Institute for Population, Health and Development, the majority of elderly people in Vietnam – more than 60% - still live with their children and grandchildren in extended families (3 generations or more), especially elderly living in rural areas, due to a lack of pension or social allowance.

However, a survey of the Institute of Sociology, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in 2020 on the criteria of happy families in Ho Chi Minh City provides interesting data.

Specifically, only 54.5% of the elderly were satisfied with living in an extended family. Thus, one in 2.2 elderly is unhappy when living with children and grandchildren in an extended family.

“In today's Vietnamese family, the elderly people have more choices in arranging accommodation. These choices depend on the circumstances and preferences of the groups as well as the different stages in the life of the elderly. The model that brings a higher level of satisfaction and happiness to both the elderly and their descendants is the appropriate model,” Dr. Le Ngoc Van said.

He further noted: “The diversity of living patterns of the elderly does not change the good values of the traditional Vietnamese family of parents' love for their children and children's filial piety towards their parents and grandparents."

Nguyen Thao

The elderly and social networks

The elderly and social networks

Social networks are no longer a playground for only young people.


Mulan storm heading towards Mong Cai City

The National Center for Hydrology Meteorology Forecasting informed that at 7:00pm August 9, Mulan was located in the Northeast of Paracel Islands, about 290km Southeast of Hainan Island (China).

Building on the ASEAN Community

August 8 marked ASEAN’s 55th anniversary of establishment. Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son writes about the journey of ASEAN development and Vietnam’s contributions to the organisation.

Flight returns to Hanoi with sick Japanese passenger

A flight of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines had to return to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on Monday while travelling to Japan to save a Japanese boy who suffered from severe nosebleeds.

Vietnam needs skilled workforce to become upper-middle-income economy by 2035: WB

Vietnam will need a skilled workforce to transform itself into an upper-middle-income economy by 2035, the World Bank has suggested in its recently-released report named “Taking Stock: Educate to Grow”.

Da Nang launches tourism programme to attract RoK visitors

The Da Nang Department of Tourism has recently organised a special tourism promotion in Seoul aiming to attract a large number of travelers from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to the central city in the post COVID-19 pandemic period.

Vietnamese instant noodles under the microscope in Cambodia

Cambodian authorities will conduct an inspection of instant noodles imported from Vietnam that are alleged to contain banned substances ethylene oxide said to exceed the permit limits set by the EU, according to Vietnam’s Trade Office in Cambodia.

Vietnam sees increasing investment in education: report

Investment in education in Vietnam tended to increase steadily over the past decade, according to a report by the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences (VNIES).

Vietnam's fisheries businesses face export growth slowdown

Enterprises in the fisheries sector are facing an export slowdown after strong shipments in the first months of 2022, which may subsequently affect their growth in the time ahead.

US extends duty evasion investigation into plywood from Vietnam

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced the extension of the deadline for issuing its final conclusion on a trade remedy duty evasion investigation into hardwood plywood imported from Vietnam.

Forest covers 42.02% of Vietnam’s total area by end of 2021

Vietnam had 14,745,201ha of forest area, of which 10,171,757 ha are natural forests and 4,573,444 ha are planted ones, including open canopy forests, as of December 1, 2021.

Da Nang, Finance Ministry top Digital Transformation Index

Da Nang and the Ministry of Finance once again topped the Digital Transformation Index (DTI) rankings for 2021, the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications announced on August 8.

“Da Nang Electronic Carnival” rave to take place on August 13-14

Residents and tourists to the central city of Da Nang are expected to have “sleepless nights” at the “Da Nang Electronic Carnival - Take Me To The Sun” festival scheduled for August 13-14.

Universities with autonomy complain about overlapping legal documents

Leaders of many universities and academies say they face many obstacles implementing the autonomy regime because of inconsistent legal framework.

The rush for 'lucky' numbers on vehicle plates begins in Vietnam

Analysts say that demand for vehicle number plates with numbers that bring good luck is very high.

HCMC draws up plan to prohibit passenger cars from entering inner city

Under a draft plan opened by the HCM City Transport Department for public opinion, the plan on prohibiting passenger cars from entering the inner city will be implemented in two stages.