Why Don't the Elderly Live With Their Children? A New Look
NBER Working Paper No. 2734
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.
Published: Why Don’t the Elderly Live with Their Children? A New Look, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, John N. Morris, in Issues in the Economics of Aging, University of Chicago Press, 1990
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