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

Authors

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.

Key Findings

  • While intergenerational coresidence has been declining in the United States, most Americans live within 25 miles of their mothers.
  • Individuals are less likely to live near their mothers if they have a college degree.
  • Adult women are more likely to live with their mother if she is older, in poor health, and unmarried.
  • Black Americans are more likely than whites to live near or to live with their mothers.
  • Hispanic Americans are no more likely to live close to their mothers than whites, but are twice as likely to live with their mothers.

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Project

Paper ID

WP 2009-215

Publication Type

Working Paper

Publication Year

2009
pavement-enterprise