The Proximity of Adult Children to their Mothers

Janice Compton, University of Manitoba
Robert A. Pollak, Washington University in St. Louis

Although studies of intergenerational proximity often focus on proximity between individuals and mothers, the location decisions of adult children are often made jointly with spouses. For a couple, the decision of whether to live close to his mother or her mother will depend on the relative costs (elderly care) and benefits (child-care) of each situation. In this study we ask two questions. First, are couples more likely to live near her mother of his? Second, do the relative distances reflect the characteristics of the mothers, or of the couple, and is there a strong gender effect? We present descriptive analyses using the three waves of the NSFH. Preliminary results suggest that proximity patterns are responsive to both the child-care needs of adult children and the long-term care needs of mothers, but that the gender of the adult child plays a crucial role in determining the geography of the family.

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Presented in Session 61: Economic Perspectives on Intrafamily Resource Flows