Household composition choices of older unmarried women

Douglas A. Wolf, Beth J. Soldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


This article extends previous research on the household composition of older unmarried women, using a statistical model that treats each of a woman's surviving children as a distinct potential provider of a shared household. Additional possibilities- living alone, living with other nuclear-family relatives, and living with others- are also recognized, providing a varied range of household-structure opportunities for older women. The approach allows us to identify individual child attributes associated with the propensity to coreside with the older unmarried mother. The results confirm earlier findings regarding the importance of income, age, and disability status as determinants of the household composition of older women. We find, however, that unmarried children, especially sons, are more likely to share a household with an elderly mother than are married children. Working reduces the likelihood that a married daughter will live with her older mother. Overall, the findings suggest that the attributes, more so than the sheer numbers, of living children influence the household structure of their mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-403
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


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