Stepfamily Structure and Transfers between Generations in U.S. Families

49 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Emily Wiemers

Emily Wiemers

University of Massachusetts Boston

Judith Seltzer

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

Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center

V. Joseph Hotz

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Suzanne Bianchi

University of Maryland

Date Written: July 1, 2018

Abstract

Unstable couple relationships and high rates of re-partnering have increased the share of U.S. families with stepkin. Yet data on stepfamily structure are from earlier time periods, include only coresident stepkin, or cover only older adults. This paper uses new data on family structure and transfers in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to describe the prevalence and numbers of stepparents and stepchildren for adults of all ages and to characterize the relationship between having stepkin and transfers of time and money between generations, regardless of whether the kin live together. We find that having stepparents and stepchildren is very common among U.S. households, especially younger households. Furthermore, stepkin substantially increase the typical household’s family size; stepparents and stepchildren increase a household’s number of parents and adult children by nearly 40% for married/cohabiting couples with living parents and children. However, having stepkin is associated with fewer transfers, particularly fewer time transfers between married women and their stepparents and stepchildren. The increase in the number of family members due to stepkin is insufficient to compensate for the lower likelihood of transfers in stepfamilies. Our findings suggest that recent cohorts with more stepkin may give less time assistance to adult children and receive less time assistance from children in old age than prior generations.

Suggested Citation

Wiemers, Emily and Seltzer, Judith and Schoeni, Robert F. and Hotz, V. Joseph and Bianchi, Suzanne M., Stepfamily Structure and Transfers between Generations in U.S. Families (July 1, 2018). Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 271. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3236431 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3236431

Emily Wiemers

University of Massachusetts Boston ( email )

100 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125
United States

Judith Seltzer

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

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bschoeni/

V. Joseph Hotz (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708
United States
919-660-1841 (Phone)
919-684-8974 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.duke.edu/~vjh3

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Suzanne M. Bianchi

University of Maryland ( email )

Department of Sociology
4131 Art-Sociology Building
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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