Relations with Grandparents: Rural Midwest Versus Urban Southern California

Valarie King, Merril Silverstein, Glen H. Elder, Vern L. Bengtson, Rand D. Conger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The rapid growth of urban settlements in the United States has profound but largely unexplored implications for children's relations with grandparents. Rural settlements in the Midwest frequently became a stepping stone to residence in far western states. We examine whether and how relations with grandparents differs for young people in rural farm and nonfarm regions of the Midwest (using the Iowa Youth and Families Project - IYFP) and in urban Southern California (using the Longitudinal Study of Generations - LSOG). Rural youth enjoy more frequent contact with paternal grandparents and receive more help from all grandparents than urban youth. Farm adolescents have even more contact and receive more help from paternal grandparents than rural nonfarm age-mates. Levels of conflict are low across ecologies, although urban youth report higher levels of conflict with maternal grandmothers than rural youth. Even with controls, the relationship of young Americans with their grandparents varies significantly by rural-urban ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1069
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Grandchildren
  • Grandparents
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Rural
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Relations with Grandparents: Rural Midwest Versus Urban Southern California'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this