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Explaining Mass Attitudes About Economic Security For Nigeria’s Ageing: The Limits Of Culture And Tradition

Author: NICHOLAS O. ALOZIE and SHARON CHANLEY
Published in IJED, Vol. 10 No. 2

Like much of Africa, culture and tradition consign provision of economic security for Nigeria’s ageing population to the family. Two developments are bringing the continued viability on filial reliance as the proper recourse for providing economic security for the ageing under pressure. One is dramatic increases in life expectancy that continues to boost the ageing population, putting the growing need for ageing care beyond family reach. Another is the social and economic changes that weaken the traditional family order, rendering it incapable of responding to the rising need. This uncertainty is galvanizing the call for a national ageing policy. However, debate on the issue will entail addressing the role of government in a culture that considers elderly care part of family heritage. Accordingly, this research uses data generated by the Pew 2013 Spring Global Attitudes Survey to decipher and explain attitudes toward government provision of economic security for the ageing versus continued reliance on the family. We find, contrary to conventional wisdom, that culture and tradition are not the core determinants of this preference. Rather, the choice is largely woven around rational calculations associated with both perception of the problem/need and an intricate web of economic considerations. These findings may have implications for other parts of Africa where the family tradition still controls ageing care.

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