Childhood Parental Ties and Co-residence, Family Structure Stability and Change, and Later Life Transfers to Parents
Sarah Patterson1, Paula Fomby1
1University of Michigan
Family complexity as measured by parental separation, divorce, repartnering and single parenthood is common. It is theorized to disrupt norms of intergenerational solidarity and particularly filial obligation, or the social norm that adult children should care for aging parents. To date, this research has been informed by static measures of childhood family structure and has not considered race and ethnicity as an axis of population variation. We extend this literature by using dynamic measures of children’s emerging family complexity from birth to age 19 in terms of the timing, frequency, and sequenced nature of disruption and change to provide a more nuanced perspective on how childhood family structure shapes later transfers to aging parents in Black and White families. Data are from the 1968-2013 US Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Preliminary findings show that first observed family composition is infrequently associated with later transfers to parents, except for single fathers.