Tropical Geography


Sustainable Livelihood of Rural Elderly Farmers in Poverty Alleviation Areas from the Perspective of Active Aging: Analysis of the Path for Integrating Individual and Spatial Perspectives

Ye Qu1,2(), Shaoyao He1,2(), Yiyan Peng1, Hui Chen1,2, Xiaolin Zhang1,2   

  1. 1.School of Architecture and Planning, Hunan University, Technology of Local Architecture, Changsha 410082, China
    2.Hunan International Innovation Cooperation Base on Science and, Technology of Local Architecture, Changsha 410082, China
  • Received:2023-01-13 Revised:2023-05-30 Online:2023-11-03
  • Contact: Shaoyao He;


The phenomenon of population aging has become an important issue affecting the sustainable economic and social development of China's countryside, but few studies exist within the academic community on the sustainable livelihoods of rural elderly farmers in areas of poverty alleviation. Based on a 2022 field survey in Guzhang County, Hunan Province, this study examined the sustainable livelihood pathways of elderly rural farmers in these areas through non-participant observations, semi-structured interviews, and grounded theory methods of textual analysis. Study findings show that in the face of rural hollowing out caused by the outflow of the young labor force due to rapid urbanization, a large number of rural elderly farmers in poverty alleviation areas are facing the livelihood dilemma of rural pension structure constraints and the rational choice of agriculture. The background for this situation involves the insufficiency of the original pension model and multiple welfare sources, a shortage of medical and health service facilities, and the transformation of intergenerational relations. Therefore, based on the advantages of rural social networks in poverty alleviation areas in the three active aging dimensions of health, participation, and guarantee, this paper presents a sustainable livelihood research paradigm in which the individual, rural, and socioeconomic networks and rural production-living-ecological space of elderly farmers in poverty alleviation areas coordinate with each other. The paper also introduces a logical framework for the sustainable livelihood of elderly farmers that is consistent with the goal of rural revitalization through the thrust of nearby urbanization. Specific sustainable livelihood paths integrating individual spaces include the following: 1) at the individual level, through the individual livelihood behavior and livelihood capital of elderly farmers dynamically adjusting to the corresponding sources of welfare and livelihood modes with changes in the life cycle, 2) at the field space level, through the sixth industry,, integrated development of modern factors intervening in the establishment of rural market industrial support to cope with aging, and 3) at the territorial space level, according to the rural elderly. The social circle structure of rural households is used to reshape the living, production, and ecological aging life circle. This study analyzed the sustainable livelihood paths of rural elderly farmers in poverty alleviation areas from individual to spatial perspectives The findings provide a theoretical basis and practical references for the revitalization of rural people in these areas in the era of rapid aging.

Key words: active aging, poverty-alleviated villages, elder care, sustainable livelihood, elderly agricultural transformation, Guzhang County

CLC Number: 

  • F249.2