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Historical Living Arrangements of Older Adults: 1967–2016

Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2017-30
Jonathan Vespa
Component ID: #ti1033116228

This study examines historical trends in later-life living arrangements using annual data from the 1967–2016 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). It bridges previous work in this field by looking at a more comprehensive list of living arrangements for older adults—including living alone, with a spouse, other family, nonrelatives and cohabiting partners—and by examining a longer period of time than studies on later-life cohabitation have been able to do so far. The largest increase in living alone and in cohabiting is among 50-64 year olds, while the largest increase in living with a spouse is at the oldest ages, among those 75 or older. Black and Hispanic older adults are more likely to be living with relatives or nonrelatives than in other arrangements. Economic characteristics are associated with living arrangements as well; being in the labor force and higher education are linked with living alone or with a spouse. Consistent with prior studies, Social Security receipt is associated with living alone for all older adults.

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