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Intergenerational Coresidence in Developing Countries


  • Steven Ruggles
  • Misty Heggeness


Newly available census microdata from IPUMS-International are used to assess trends in intergenerational coresidence in 15 developing countries. Contrary to expectations, we find no general decline in intergenerational coresidence over the past several decades. There have been, however, significant changes in the "configuration" of intergenerational coresidence. Families in which a member of the older generation is household head-a configuration consistent with traditional patriarchal forms in which the older generation retains authority-are becoming more common in most of the countries. Intergenerational families headed by a member of the younger generation-the configuration one would expect if intergenerational coresidence were motivated by a need for old-age support-are on the decline in most of the countries. Multivariate analysis reveals that intergenerational families headed by the older generation are positively associated with measures of economic development. These findings are at variance with widely accepted social theory. We hypothesize that housing shortages, economic stress in the younger generation, and old-age pensions may contribute to the change. More broadly, in some developing countries rising incomes may have allowed more people to achieve their preferred family structure of intergenerational coresidence following traditional family forms. Copyright (c) 2008 The Population Council, Inc..

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  • Steven Ruggles & Misty Heggeness, 2008. "Intergenerational Coresidence in Developing Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(2), pages 253-281.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:34:y:2008:i:2:p:253-281

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Suzanne Duryea & Olga Lucia Jaramillo & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2003. "Latin American Labor Markets in the 1990s: Deciphering the Decade," Research Department Publications 4331, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beaman, Lori & Dillon, Andrew, 2010. "Do household definitions matter in survey design?," IFPRI discussion papers 1009, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Keera Allendorf, 2013. "Going Nuclear? Family Structure and Young Women’s Health in India, 1992–2006," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 853-880, June.
    3. Steven Ruggles, 2009. "Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System: Living Arrangements of the Aged in Comparative Historical Perspective," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(2), pages 249-273.
    4. Sara Randall & Ernestina Coast, 2016. "The quality of demographic data on older Africans," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 34(5), pages 143-174, January.
    5. Heggeness, Misty L., 2009. "Evidence of shifts in intra-household allocation under exogenous changes in family policy and administrative procedures: The case of school enrollment in Chile," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49450, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Beaman, Lori & Dillon, Andrew, 2012. "Do household definitions matter in survey design? Results from a randomized survey experiment in Mali," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 124-135.
    7. Hsin-Ling Hsieh & Shin-Yi Chou & Echu Liu & Hsien-Ming Lien, 2015. "Strengthening or Weakening? The Impact of Universal Health Insurance on Intergenerational Coresidence in Taiwan," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(3), pages 883-904, June.
    8. Joonmo Son, 2016. "Institutional Affiliation as a Measure of Organizational Social Capital: A Case Study of Korea," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 699-716, November.
    9. Steven Ruggles, 2010. "Stem Families and Joint Families in Comparative Historical Perspective," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(3), pages 563-577.
    10. Ashton M. Verdery, 2015. "Links Between Demographic and Kinship Transitions," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(3), pages 465-484, September.

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