All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Intergenerational coresidence and economic opportunity of the younger generation in the United States, 1850-2000|
|During the past century and a half, the living arrangements of the aged in the United States were radically transformed. Approximately 70 percent of persons aged 65 or older in the mid-nineteenth century lived with their children or children-in-law. Another tenth of the elderly lived with other relatives—mainly grandchildren, siblings, nephews, and nieces. Only 11 percent of the elderly in 1850 lived alone or with only their spouses, and only 0.7 percent lived in institutions such as almshouses and homes for the aged.
In the late nineteenth century, the percentage of aged residing with their children began to decline. More and more, they lived alone, with their spouses only, or in old-age homes. The trend was gradual until 1920, but then began to accelerate. By 1990, fewer than 15 percent of the aged lived with their children, while 6.8 percent lived in institutions and almost 70 percent lived alone or with their spouses only.
This essay seeks to explain the decline of intergenerational coresidence—defined as aged persons residing with their adult children—since the mid-nineteenth century. My central thesis is that the rise of wage labor, the decline of agriculture and other forms of self-employment, and the increase of secondary education reduced the incentives for adult children to reside with their parents. My interpretation in most respects echoes the views of an earlier generation of social scientists and policy analysts, but it is sharply at odds with the revisionist interpretation of family history that has predominated for the past three decades.
The investigation uses the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series to carry out contextual analyses that simultaneously estimate the effects of the economic independence of the aged and the economic opportunities of their children. Preliminary results suggest that the economic characteristics of the younger generation were significantly more important than those of their parents. These results support the interpretation that independent residence of the aged frequently occurred when the younger generation abandoned the farm in favor of the higher wages, independence, and excitement offered by town life.
The paper will also present new decomposition estimates of the impact of Social Security and the expansion of private pensions on living arrangements of the aged. The introduction of Social Security clearly reinforced the shift to separate residence of the aged. Nevertheless, we should be cautious about attributing an independent effect to the Social Security program. The creators of the Social Security system saw it as a response to changes in the family that had already taken place because of the decline of farming and the rise of urban wage labor. Thus, Social Security may be less a cause of the changes in the family composition of the elderly than a consequence of such changes.