Economic Inequality in Social Cohesion Among Older Adults in Low and Middle‑Income Countries

Shekhar Chauhan/Mohammad Hifz Ur Rahman/ Abdul Jaleel & Ratna Patel (2021)

Key facts

Ageing International
Type of publication
Journal article
Elements of social cohesion
Intergroup relations
Identity/feeling of belonging
Shared values
Geographical focus
South Africa
Main thematic areas
Economic development
Development cooperation


Though a continued increase in life expectancy is a signifcant public health achievement, keeping older adults active and maintaining their well-being is challenging. Active aging requires physical health, mental health, functional independence, economic stability, social participation, and spiritual identifcation. Among all these factors, social cohesion has signifcant importance, but there is a dearth of studies focusing on older adults’ social cohesion. Thus, the present study focuses on the level of social cohesion among older adults and its variation among the different economic classes. This article uses data from the Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE) conducted in China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa during 2007–10. Social cohesion scores have been constructed using Item Response Theory Partial Credit Model. Also, bivariate analysis, concentration curves, concentration indices, and multivariate regressions have been used for the analysis presented in this paper. This study confirms the strong predictive power of age, wealth, education, and working status of older adults on their social cohesion across the countries. Higher social non-cohesion is found among the economically poor older adults in Mexico, Russia, India, and China. In contrast, it is just opposite in the case of older adults in South Africa. Governments should develop policies to foster a society with a high level of social inclusion, social capital, and social diversity, to achieve further advancement in social cohesion.

Publication_2021_Shekhar Chauhan/Mohammad Hifz Ur Rahman/ Abdul Jaleel & Ratna Patel

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