Abstract

This article extends previous research on the household composition of older unmarried women, using a statistical model that treats each of a woman’s surviving children as a distinct potential provider of a shared household. Additional possibilities— living alone, living with other nuclear-family relatives, and living with others— are also recognized, providing a varied range of household-structure opportunities for older women. The approach allows us to identify individual child attributes associated with the propensity to coreside with the older unmarried mother. The results confirm earlier findings regarding the importance of income, age, and disability status as determinants of the household composition of older women. We find, however, that unmarried children, especially sons, are more likely to share a household with an elderly mother than are married children. Working reduces the likelihood that a married daughter will live with her older mother. Overall, the findings suggest that the attributes, more so than the sheer numbers, of living children influence the household structure of their mothers.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

References

Amemiya, T. (
1985
).
Advanced Econometrics
.
Cambridge, Mass.
:
Harvard University Press
.
Bachrach, C. A. (
1980
).
Childlessness and social isolation among the elderly
.
Journal of Marriage and Family
,
42
,
627
636
. 10.2307/351906
Becker, P. M., & Cohen, H. J. (
1984
).
The functional approach to the care of the elderly:A conceptual framework
.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
,
32
,
923
929
.
Branch, L., & Jette, A. (
1982
).
A prospective study of long-term care institutionalization among the aged
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
72
,
1373
1379
. 10.2105/AJPH.72.12.1373
Brody, E. (
1985
).
Parent care as normative stress
.
Gerontologist
,
25
,
19
29
.
Brody, S. J., Poulshock, W., & Masciocchi, C. F. (
1978
).
The family caring unit: A major consideration in the long-term support system
.
Gerontologist
,
18
,
556
561
.
Cantor, M. (
1979
).
Neighbors and friends:An overlooked resource in the informal support system
.
Research on Aging
,
1
,
434
463
. 10.1177/016402757914002
Chevan, A., & Korson, J. H. (
1972
).
The widowed who live alone: An examination of social and demographic factors
.
Social Forces
,
51
,
45
53
. 10.2307/2576130
Chevan, A. (
1975
).
Living arrangements of widows in the United States and Israel, 1960 and 1961
.
Demography
,
21
,
505
518
. 10.2307/2060832
Christenson, B. A., and D. P. Siesinger. 1986. Effect of Race, Ethnicity, and Poverty on Living Arrangements of Widows in the United States. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, San Francisco.
Heuser, R. L. (
1976
).
Fertility Tables for Birth Cohorts by Color: United States, 1917-73
.
Washington, D.C.
:
U.S. Government Printing Office
.
Horowitz, A. 1981. Sons and Daughters as Caregivers to Older Parents: Differences in Role Performance and Consequences. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society, Toronto, Canada.
Johnson, C. L. (
1983
).
Dyadic family relations and social support
.
Gerontologist
,
23
,
377
383
.
Kobrin, F. E. (
1976
).
The fall of household size and the rise of the primary individual in the U. S
.
Demography
,
13
,
127
138
. 10.2307/2060425
Kobrin, F. E. (
1976
).
The primary individual and the family: Changes in living arrangements since 1940
.
Journal of Marriage and Family
,
8
,
233
238
.
Kobrin, F. E. (
1981
).
Family extension of the elderly: Economic, demographic, and family cycle factors
.
Journal of Gerontology
,
36
,
370
377
.
Lawton, M. P. (
1981
).
An ecological view of living arrangements
.
Gerontologist
,
21
,
59
66
.
Manton, K. G., & Soldo, B. J. (
1985
).
Dynamics of health changes in the oldest old: New perspectives and evidence
.
Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly/Health and Society
,
63
,
206
285
. 10.2307/3349881
McFadden, D. (
1982
).
Qualitative response models
. In W. Hilderbrand (Ed.),
Advances in Econometrics
(pp.
1
37
).
Cambridge, U.K.
:
Cambridge University Press
.
Michael, R. T., Fuchs, V. R., & Scott, S. R. (
1980
).
Changes in the propensity to live alone: 1950–1976
.
Demography
,
17
,
39
56
. 10.2307/2060962
Mindel, C. H. (
1979
).
Multigenerational family households: Recent trends and implications for the future
.
Gerontologist
,
19
,
456
463
.
Nerlove, M., & Press., S. J. (
1973
).
Univariate and Multivariate Log-Linear and Logistic Models
.
Santa Monica, Calif.
:
Rand Corp
.
Pampel, F. C. (
1983
).
Changes in the propensity to live alone: Evidence from consecutive cross-sectional surveys, 1960–1976
.
Demography
,
20
,
433
449
. 10.2307/2061112
Sangl, J. (
1982
).
The family support system of the elderly
. In R. G. Vogel, & H. C. Palmer (Eds.),
Long-Term Care: Perspectives From Research and Demonstrations
(pp.
307
336
).
Washington, D.C.
:
U.S. Government Printing Office
.
Schwartz, S., Danziger, S., & Smolensky, E. (
1984
).
The choice of living arrangements among the aged
. In H. Aaron, & G. Burtless (Eds.),
Retirementand Economic Behavior
(pp.
229
253
).
Washington, D.C.
:
Brookings Inst
.
Shanas, E. 1978. A National Survey of the Aged. Final Report to the Administration on Aging, Project No. HEW OHD 90-A-369. (Available from the Administration on Aging.)
Shanas, E., Townsend, P., Weddenburn, D., Friis, H., Milhoj, P., & Stehouwer, J. (
1968
).
Old People in Three Industrial Societies
.
New York
:
Atherton
.
Soldo, B. J. 1977. Determinants of Temporal Variations in Living Arrangements Among the Elderly, 1960–1970. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, Dept. of Sociology.
Soldo, B. J. (
1981
).
The living arrangements of the elderly in the near future
. In S. B. Kiesler, J. N. Morgan, & V. K Oppenheimer (Eds.),
Aging: Social Change
(pp.
491
512
).
New York
:
Academic Press
.
Soldo, B. J. 1982. Effects of Number and Sex of Adult Children on LTC Service Usc Patterns. Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society, Boston, Mass.
Soldo, B. J. (
1986
).
Household types, housing needs, and disability
. In R. J. Newcomer, M. P. Lawton, & T. O. Byerts (Eds.),
Housing an Aging Society
(pp.
10
20
).
Boston
:
Hutchinson and Ress
.
Soldo, B. J., and P. Lauriat. 1976. An analysis of living arrangements among the elderly through log-linear models. Journal of Comparative Family Studies (spec. issue, summer), pp. 351–367.
Soldo, B. J., & Myllyluoma, J. (
1983
).
Caregivers who live with dependent elderly
.
Gerontologist
,
23
,
605
611
.
Soldo, B. J., Sharma, M., & Campbell, R. T. (
1984
).
Determinants of community living arrangements of older unmarried women
.
Journal of Gerontology
,
39
,
492
498
.
Soldo, B. J., D. A. Wolf, and E. Agree. 1986. Family, Household, and Care Arrangements of Disabled Older Women: A Structural Analysis. Paper presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Nov. 14–21, Chicago.
Stephens, S. A., & Christianson, J. B. (
1986
).
Informal Care of the Elderly
.
Lexington, Mass.
:
Lexington Books
.
Thomas, K., & Wister, A. V. (
1984
).
Living arrangements of older women: The ethnic dimension
.
Journal of Marriage and Family
,
46
,
301
311
. 10.2307/352462
Tissue, T., & McCoy, J. L. (
1981
).
Income and living arrangements among poor aged singles
.
Social Security Bulletin
,
44
(
1
),
3
13
.
Townsend, P. (
1965
).
The effects offamily structure on the likelihood of admission to an institution in old age
. In E. Shanas, & G. Streib (Eds.),
Social Structure and the Family
(pp.
163
187
).
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
:
Prentice-Hall
.
Townsend, P. (
1968
).
The structure of the family
. In E. Shanas, P. Townsend, D. Weddenburn, H. Friis, P. Milhoj, & J. Stehouwer (Eds.),
Old People in Three Industrial Societies
(pp.
132
176
).
New York
:
Atherton
.
Treas, J. (
1981
).
The great American fertility debate: Generational balance and support of the aged
.
Gerontologist
,
21
,
98
104
.
Troll, L. E. (
1971
).
The family of later life: A decade review
.
Journal of Marriage and Family
,
33
,
263
290
. 10.2307/349414
Tuma, N. B., & Hannan, M. T (
1984
).
Social Dynamics: Models and Methods
.
Orlando, Fla.
:
Academic Press
.
Wister, A. V. (
1983
).
Living arrangement choices among the elderly
.
Canadian Journal on Aging
,
4
(
3
),
127
144
.
Wister, A. V., & Burch, T. K. (
1983
).
Fertility and household status of older women in Canada, 1921
.
Canadian Studies in Population
,
10
,
1
13
.
Wister, A. V. 1985. Decision-Making of the Elderly: The Case of Living Arrangement Choice. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Association of Sociology and Anthropology, Winnipeg, February.
Wolf, D. A. (
1984
).
Kin availability and the living arrangements of older women
.
Social Science Research
,
13
,
72
89
. 10.1016/0049-089X(84)90005-X