Older parents' expectations of moving closer to their children

Merril Silverstein, Joseph J. Angelelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Research shows that older parents engage in return migration in order to live closer to children from whom they receive care. However, less is known about how characteristics of adult children influence this process. Data for this analysis are from 5,382 older parents participating in the 1993/4 AHEAD national survey of adults aged 70 years old and older. Findings demonstrate that elderly parents who expect to move closer to adult children tend to be older, female, and have at least one child who is better-off financially than they are. Living alone magnifies the effect of poor self-rated health on expecting to move closer to a child. Random effects modeling of children's characteristics reveals that parents are more likely to expect to move closer to a daughter than to a son. Greater parental functional impairment was found to further depress the selection of sons. Overall, the findings suggest that older parents expect to move closer to adult children out of need and tend to select a target child with greater potential to provide support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S153-S163
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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