Household Patterns of Older Women: Some International Comparisons

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25 Scopus citations


Comparative analyses based on aggregate data have shown that the percentage of older women living alone has risen dramatically during recent decades, a pattern repeated in many European and North American countries. This article investigates the correlates of the decision to live alone, using individual-level data from five countries and a parallel analytic approach. The major categories of factors analyzed here are kin availability, financial resources, and disability and health status. Several common patterns of findings emerge for the group of countries considered: Larger kin networks and the presence of severe disabilities reduce the probability of living alone, whereas higher income increases the probability of living alone. Despite these similarities in individual-level correlates, there remain some differences across countries in the levels of single-person households, and these might be attributable to macrolevel forces such as housing and social welfare policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-486
Number of pages24
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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