Abstract

The share of the elderly living with an adult child decreased monotonically throughout the twentieth century, while the probability of reaching old age and the number of years lived in old age increased. As a result, the expected number of life-years lived with adult children while in old age may have increased, decreased, or stayed the same. I estimate that the number of life-years lived in old-age coresidence with adult children stayed roughly constant between 1900 and 1940, while the rate of coresidence declined. Life years lived in old-age coresidence then declined substantially between 1940 and 1990. Moreover, the number of life-years lived in old-age coresidence in 1990 would have been roughly half as great as it actually was had there been no improvements in mortality between 1900 and 1990. And if fertility had remained at its 1900 levels, life-years lived in old-age coresidence would have been about 45% higher in 1990 than it actually was. The results imply that analyses of the change in familial assistance to the elderly should also consider changes in mortality.

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

References

Changes in the Living Arrangements of the Elderly: 1960–2030
. (
1988
).
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Government Printing Office
.
Crimmins, E., Saito, Y., & Ingegneri, D. (
1989
).
Changes in Active Life Expectancy and Disability-Free Life Expectancy in the United States
.
Population and Development Review
,
15
,
235
67
. 10.2307/1973704
Costa, D.L. (
1997
).
Displacing the Family: Union Army Pensions and Elderly Living Arrangements
.
Journal of Political Economy
,
6
,
1269
92
. 10.1086/516392
Espenshade, T.J., & Braun, R.E. (
1982
).
Life Course Analysis and Multistate Demography: An Application to Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage
.
Journal of Marriage and the Family
,
44
,
1025
36
. 10.2307/351461
Kramarow, E. (
1995
).
Living Alone Among the Elderly in the United States: Historical Perspectives on Household Change
.
Demography
,
32
,
335
52
. 10.2307/2061684
Macunovich, S.J., Easterlin, R.A., Schaeffer, C.M., & Crimmins, E.M. (
1995
).
Echoes of the Baby Boom and Bust: Recent and Prospective Changes in Living Alone Among Elderly Widows in the United States
.
Demography
,
32
,
17
28
. 10.2307/2061894
Martin, L.G., & Culter, S. (
1983
).
Mortality Decline and Japanese Family Structure
.
Population and Development Review
,
9
,
633
49
. 10.2307/1973543
Michael, R.T., Fuchs, V.R., & Scott, S.R. (
1980
).
Changes in the Propensity to Live Alone, 1950–1976
.
Demography
,
17
,
39
53
. 10.2307/2060962
Preston, S.H., & Haines, M.R. (
1991
).
Fatal Years: Child Mortality in Late Nineteenth-Century America
.
Princeton, NJ
:
Princeton University Press
.
Ruggles, S. (
1994
).
The Transformation of American Family Structure
.
American Historical Review
,
99
,
103
28
. 10.2307/2166164
Ruggles, S. 1996. “Living Arrangements of the Elderly in America: 1880–1980.” Pp. 254–63 in Aging and Intergenerational Relations: Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
Ruggles, S., & Sobek, M. (
1995
).
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 1.0
.
Minneapolis
:
Social History Research Laboratory, University of Minnesota
.
Schoen, R. (
1975
).
Constructing Increment-Decrement Life Tables
.
Demography
,
12
,
313
24
. 10.2307/2060768
Sussman, M.B. (
1959
).
The Isolated Nuclear Family: Fact or Fiction?
.
Social Problems
,
6
,
333
40
. 10.1525/sp.1959.6.4.03a00080
Uhlenberg, P. (
1980
).
Death and the Family
.
Journal of Family History
,
5
,
313
20
. 10.1177/036319908000500304
Uhlenberg, P. (
1996
).
Mortality Decline in the Twentieth Century and Supply of Kin Over the Life Course
.
The Gerontologist
,
36
,
681
85
.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Office of the Actuary. 1992. Life Tablesfor the United States Social Security Area, 1900–2080. Social Security Administration, Pub. No. 11–11536.
Watkins, S.C., Menken, J.A., & Bongaarts, J. (
1987
).
Demographic Foundations of Family Change
.
American Sociological Review
,
52
,
346
58
. 10.2307/2095354
Weinick, R.M. (
1995
).
Sharing a Home: The Experiences of American Women and Their Parents Over the Twentieth Century
.
Demography
,
32
,
281
97
. 10.2307/2061745
Willekens, F.J., Shah, I., Shah, J.M., & Ramachandran, P. (
1982
).
Multi-State Analysis of Marital Status Life Tables: Theory and Application
.
Population Studies
,
36
,
129
55
. 10.2307/2174163