Living arrangements among older people: an overview of trends in Europe and the USA.

Cecilia Tomassini, Karen Glaser, Douglas A. Wolf, Marjolein I. Broese van Groenou, Emily Grundy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


This article compares the trends in living arrangements of older people in several European countries and in the United States. Trends and cross-country variability in several factors that could account for these cross-national differences, including marital status, fertility, labour force participation and attitudes, are also examined. In most countries the proportion of older people living alone increased substantially between 1970 and 1990. However the increase in living alone stabilised or even declined between 1990 and 2000 in most of the countries analysed indicating a possible reversal in the trend. Increases in proportions of older women who are married and reductions in the proportions childless may partially explain this. Considerable variability in both trends and levels of older people's living arrangements was seen especially between north-western and southern European countries. These variations mirrored contrasts in attitudes towards residential care and parent-child coresidence between the countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalPopulation trends
Issue number115
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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