Proximity and Coresidence of Adult Children and their Parents: Description and Correlates

38 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2009

See all articles by Janice Compton

Janice Compton

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 1, 2009

Abstract

The ability of family members to engage in intergenerational transfers of hands-on care requires close proximity or coresidence. In this paper we describe and analyze the patterns of proximity and coresidence involving adult children and their mothers using data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) and the U.S. Census. Although intergenerational coresidence has been declining in the United States, most Americans live within 25 miles of their mothers.

In both the raw data and in regression analyses, the most robust predictor of proximity of adult children to their mothers is education. Individuals are less likely to live near their mothers if they have a college degree. Virtually all previous studies have considered coresidence alone, or else treat coresidence as a limiting case of close proximity. We show that this treatment is misleading. We find substantial differences in the correlates of proximity by gender and marital status, indicating the need to model these categories separately. Other demographic variables such as age, race and ethnicity also affect the probability of coresidence and close proximity, but characteristics indicating a current need for transfers (e.g., disability) are not correlated with close proximity.

Suggested Citation

Compton, Janice and Pollak, Robert A., Proximity and Coresidence of Adult Children and their Parents: Description and Correlates (October 1, 2009). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2009-215, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1513453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1513453

Janice Compton (Contact Author)

University of Manitoba - Department of Economics ( email )

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Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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