The Changing Meaning of Intergenerational Coresidence Among the Elderly

Frances Goldscheider , University of Maryland
Joan R. Kahn, University of Maryland
Javier Garcia Manglano, Instituto de Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra

Although intergenerational coresidence in the U.S declined throughout the 20th century, it has seen an upsurge since 1990, largely reflecting economic challenges facing the younger generation. However, problems of young adults should be less likely to affect elderly parents, suggesting that coresidence might still represent the needs of the older generation. We examine trends in coresidence among Americans aged 65+ from 1960-2015 and their financial position in coresidential households, utilizing Census and ACS data. We find that the decline in coresidence ended in 1990, with considerable increases thereafter, whereas elder financial dependency continued to decline throughout the period. In 1960, most elders living with their adult children were financially dependent, whereas by 2015, this pattern had nearly totally reversed. Clearly, America’s elderly are doing better even than many of their middle-aged offspring and they are often using their resources to care for their families rather than to purchase privacy.

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 Presented in Session 194. Intergenerational Coresidence