Cultural Preferences and Economic Constraints: The Living Arrangements of Elderly Canadians Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACTUsing data from the 2001 Census Public Use Microdata Files on Individuals, we examine the role of cultural preferences and economic constraints in elderly Canadians' choice of living arrangements (living with one's children and/or other relatives versus living independently). We find that members of ethnic groups holding familistic cultural values (Italian, Chinese, South Asian, and East Indian) are more likely than their individualistic counterparts (British, German, and Dutch) to live with kin. Economic disadvantage also entails a greater likelihood of living with kin. However, the relative importance of cultural preferences and economic constraints as determinants of living arrangements among the elderly depends on marital status. Among the married, cultural preferences explain a greater proportion of the variation in living arrangements; among the non-married, economic constraints do. This research contributes a more nuanced understanding of living arrangements among the elderly than its predecessors, which neglected the role of marital status.

publication date

  • December 2009