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Abstract

Proximity and Coresidence of Adult Children and their Parents: Description and Correlates
by Janice Compton and Robert A. Pollak
WP 2009-215
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.
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