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Cooking fuel decision-making and family structure: a field study in China

Hou, Bingdong, Liao, Hua, Wang, Jin-Wei, Wang, Fangzhi, Zhang, Hongliang
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.23 pp. 24050-24061
air pollution, clean fuels, cooking, decision making, education, elderly, energy, family structure, households, income, infrastructure, ingestion, issues and policy, probability, sampling, school children, socioeconomics, surveys, villages, China
Household air pollution caused by solid fuel use for cooking is prevalent in rural China and generates various environmental and health problems. Various potential impact factors on cooking fuel decision such as income, education, modern energy, and infrastructure are examined. However, the role of family structures has been ignored. A survey on household energy consumption pattern interrelating socio-economic and demographic factors was conducted in ten villages in Northern China using stratified random sampling technique. The number of family member eating together influences households’ cooking fuel decision-making significantly. The numbers of school-age children and family members under 6 and above 60 years old have no significant influence on the household’s cooking fuel decision-making respectively. Compared with families with neither child nor the elderly, those with no child but at least an elderly member have 0.103 lower probability of choosing clean fuels as their primary cooking fuel. Hence, the elderly owns a heavyweight in the household fuel decision-making process in rural China, and the government should formulate policies more in line with the background of the times to deal with rural energy issues.