New Research Says Elderly Persons Who Live With Children Fare Worse Than Those Who Don’t

Elderly Americans who live with people under age 18 have lower
life evaluations than those who do not. They also experience worse emotional
outcomes, including less happiness and enjoyment, and more stress, worry, and
anger. In part, these negative outcomes come from selection into living with a
child, especially selection on poor health, which is associated with worse
outcomes irrespective of living conditions. Yet even with controls, the elderly
who live with children do worse. This is in sharp contrast to younger adults
who live with children, likely their own, whose life evaluation is no different
in the presence of the child once background conditions are controlled for.
Parents, like elders, have enhanced negative emotions in the presence of a
child, but unlike elders, also have enhanced positive emotions. In parts of the
world where fertility rates are higher, the elderly do not appear to have lower
life evaluations when they live with children; such living arrangements are
more usual, and the selection into them is less negative. They also share with
younger adults the enhanced positive and negative emotions that come with
children. The misery of the elderly living with children is one of the prices
of the demographic transition.

Source/more: National Bureau of Economic Research


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