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7% of Oldsters Live With Their Kids

Posted on November 22, 2014

The Current Population Survey’s American Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), shows the share of seniors living with their children or other relatives has grown over the past 20 years, from an average of 6.6% over the years 1994-1998 to 7.3% in 2013.  These data are volatile year to year, but the overall trend is clearly upward, as the “unadjusted” line in the chart below shows. (Confusingly, different government surveys report seniors’ living arrangements differently. . . .)


Note: based on CPS ASEC 1994-2013, via IPUMS site. See longer note at end of post.

The rise in seniors living with relatives isn’t due to the recession or to changing attitudes: rather, it’s because of demographic shifts. For instance, the share of seniors who are 80 or older grew from 22% in 1994 to 25% in 2013. Furthermore, the share of seniors who were born outside the U.S. grew from 8% in 1994 to 13% in 2013. As the next section will show, older seniors and foreign-born seniors are much likelier to live with relatives than other seniors are.

Adjusting for demographics, including age, marital status, sex, race, ethnicity, and nativity, the trend in seniors living with relatives is actually slightly downward over the past two decades. That means that a senior with particular demographics – say, a widowed 74-year-old white woman born in the U.S. – is no more likely to live with relatives today than someone with the same demographics twenty years ago. In other words, the changing demographics of America’s seniors explain why more of them are living with relatives.

(For the rest of the story, click the link.)

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