Volume 46 - Article 36 | Pages 1065–1108 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Intergenerational support during the rise of mobile telecommunication in Indonesia

By Yiyue Huangfu, Jenna Nobles

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:26 Mar 2021
Date published:14 Jun 2022
Word count:8657
Keywords:adult children, Indonesia, mobile telecommunication, nonresident intergenerational support
Additional files:readme.46-36 (text file, 5 kB)
 demographic-research.46-36 (zip file, 16 kB)


Background: In many Southeast Asian populations, urbanization and migration have increased the share of older adults supported by nonresident children. The expansion of mobile telephone infrastructure has emerged as a mechanism to bridge the spatial dispersion of families and to facilitate support for aging adults.

Objective: We document two decades of change in the proximity of adult children of older people in Indonesia. We then ask how the arrival and expansion of mobile communication infrastructure changed key dimensions of intergenerational support: frequency of contact and material transfers.

Methods: We combine data from a longitudinal, population-representative household survey with area-level information on mobile signal strength in Indonesia spanning the development of mobile telecommunication. We describe shifts in the family network available to older adults as well as changes in support between 1997 and 2014. We use fixed effect specifications to estimate the impact of the arrival of mobile telecommunication on intergenerational support.

Results: For Indonesian older adults, the geographic dispersal of adult children increased over the two-decade period, but the proximate residence of at least one child remained stable. Weekly contact and the monetary value of material transfers to older people doubled. The arrival of mobile technology increased contact between aging parents and their adult children but had little impact on material transfers.

Contribution: Despite the spatial dispersion of adult children, familial support for the Indonesian older-age population has increased substantially over the past two decades. Telecommunication has supported ongoing intrafamilial exchange, but the effects differ across dimensions of support.

Author's Affiliation

Yiyue Huangfu - University of Wisconsin–Madison, United States of America [Email]
Jenna Nobles - University of Wisconsin–Madison, United States of America [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Interviewer effects on patterns of nonresponse: Evaluating the impact on the reasons for contraceptive nonuse in the Indonesia and the Philippines DHS
Volume 39 - Article 14    | Keywords: Indonesia

» Does grandparental help mediate the relationship between kin presence and fertility?
Volume 34 - Article 17    | Keywords: Indonesia

» What happens after you drop out? Transition to adulthood among early school-leavers in urban Indonesia
Volume 30 - Article 41    | Keywords: Indonesia

» Does fertility decrease household consumption?: An analysis of poverty dynamics and fertility in Indonesia
Volume 20 - Article 26    | Keywords: Indonesia

» Indonesia against the trend? Ageing and inter-generational wealth flows in two Indonesian communities
Volume 19 - Article 52    | Keywords: Indonesia