Widowed Mothers’ Co-Residence with Adult Children: Who Will Take Care of Mom?

Judith A. Seltzer, University of California, Los Angeles
Esther M. Friedman, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper investigates whether a widowed mother lives with an adult child, and if so, with whom she resides. We explore between- and within-family differences in co-residence using information about each child’s economic and family circumstances. The analysis uses data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Survey, a panel study of high school graduates and all of their siblings. We find that mothers in poor health and those with daughters are more likely to live with a child. Mothers’ socioeconomic status does not affect co-residence. Among families in which mothers live with a child, married children are less likely than unmarried children to live with their mother. Among married children, daughters are slightly more likely than sons to co-reside, but among the unmarried, sons are more likely than daughters to share a home with their mother. These preliminary findings are consistent with theories about the gendered division of labor and family responsibilities.

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Presented in Session 156: Generational Exchanges and Relationships: Adult-Children and Elderly Parents