With Children or by Themselves? New Trends on Older Americans' Living Arrangement

Wendy Wang, Pew Research Center
Jeffrey S. Passel, Pew Hispanic Center

A majority of the public (56%) considers it a "family responsibility" for adult children to take into their home an elderly parent, according to a 2005 Pew Research Center survey. Using data from the decennial census and American Community survey, we track changes in older Americans’ living arrangements starting in last century. The recent trends since 1990 suggest an INCREASE in older Americans living with their adult children, and a DECREASE in the share of older Americans living alone. This represents a departure from the trend that dominated most of the 20th Century. We present the trend by demographic characteristics such as gender, age and race/ethnicity, and also try to shed some light on what factors might account for the recent trend. These findings have implications for the demands of the Social Security system, especially when the Baby Boomers start to hit 65 next year (2011).

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 5