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Why Don't the Elderly Live with Their Children? A New Look

In: Issues in the Economics of Aging

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • John N. Morris

Perhaps no single statistic raises more concern about post War changes in the U.S. family than the proportion of the elderly living alone. Since 1940 the proportion of elderly living alone and in institutions has risen dramatically. While demographics appear to explain much of the change in the living arrangements of the elderly, the rising income of the elderly is viewed by many as the chief or at least a chief reason why the elderly live alone. The analyses underlying this view have not, however, considered the incomes and preferences of the children of the elderly. This paper presents a model of the joint living arrangement choice of parents and children. It then uses a new set of data to consider how the preferences and income positions of the elderly and their children influence the living arrangements of elderly parents. The findings suggest that the preferences and income levels of children may be important factors in explaining why so many of the elderly live alone.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 1990. "Issues in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise90-1, 07.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7116.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7116
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John N. Morris, 1989. "How Much Care Do the Aged Receive from Their Children? A Bimodal Picture of Contact and Assistance," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 151-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Axel Borsch-Supan, 1987. "Household Dissolution and the Choice of Alternative Living Arrangements Among Elderly Americans," NBER Working Papers 2338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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