Trends and Determinants of Extended Family Living Arrangements of Hispanic and Asian Elderly in the United States: The Roles of Resources and Assimilation

Douglas T. Gurak, Cornell University
Mary M. Kritz, Cornell University

Extended family living arrangements constitute a major form of social support for elders. Although elders are increasingly likely to live independently, trends differ for immigrants and their descendants from Asian and Latin American origins with strong traditions of extended living. While only 20% of native-born white elders reside in extended households, the corresponding figure for Asian and Latin American foreign-born elders is close to two-thirds. This tendency persists, albeit at a lower level, for native-born Asians and Latin Americans. This paper utilizes 1990 and 2000 Census data to evaluate the sources and stability of extended living among Asian and Hispanic elderly. Three theoretical perspectives – assimilation, family survival and group values - guide the analysis. Findings indicate that all three perspectives shape elderly living arrangements but group values and assimilation are the main sources of differentials between native white, Asian and Latin American elders.

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Presented in Session 106: Work and Family in Later Life