Abstract

In this article, we examine birth cohort differences in parents’ provision of monetary help to adult children with particular focus on the extent to which cohort differences in family structure and the transition to adulthood influence these changes. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study from 1994 to 2010, we compare financial help to children of three respondent cohorts as the parents in these birth cohorts from ages 53–58 to 57–62. We find that transfers to children have increased among more recent cohorts. Two trends—declining family size and children’s delay in marriage—account for part of the increase across cohorts. However, other trends, such as the increase in the number of stepchildren and increasing child’s income level, tend to decrease the observed cohort trend.

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