Geographic Dispersion and the Well-Being of the Elderly

44 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2010

See all articles by Suzanne Bianchi

Suzanne Bianchi

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Kathleen M. McGarry

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Judith Seltzer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology

Date Written: October 1, 2010

Abstract

Perhaps the largest problem confronting our aging population is the rising cost of health care, particularly the costs borne by Medicare and Medicaid. A chief component of this expense is long-term care. Much of this care for an unmarried (mostly widowed) mother is currently provided by adult children. The provision of family care depends importantly on the geographic dispersion of family members. In this study we provide preliminary evidence on the geographic dispersion of adult children and their older unmarried mother. Coresidence is less likely for married adult children, those who are parents and the highly educated and more likely for those who are not working or only employed part time and for black and Hispanic adult children. Close proximity is more common for married children who are parents but less common for the highly educated. When we look at transitions between one wave of data collection and the next (a 2-year interval), about half of adult children live more than 10 miles away at both points, a little less than one quarter live within 10 miles at both points, and 8 percent are coresident at both points in time. Among the 17 percent who make a transition, about half of the changes result in greater distance between the adult child and mother and half bring them into closer proximity. The needs of both generations are likely reflected in these transitions. In fact, a mother’s health is not strongly related to most transitions and if anything, distance tends to be greater for older mothers relative to those mothers in their early 50s.

Suggested Citation

Bianchi, Suzanne and McGarry, Kathleen M. and Seltzer, Judith, Geographic Dispersion and the Well-Being of the Elderly (October 1, 2010). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2010-234. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1710148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1710148

Suzanne Bianchi (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Kathleen M. McGarry

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States
310-206-2833 (Phone)
310-825-9528 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Judith Seltzer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Sociology ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
69
Abstract Views
550
rank
354,904
PlumX Metrics