Proximity and contacts between older parents and their children: A European comparison

Karsten Hank, University of Mannheim

Using data from the 2004 ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe’ (SHARE), this paper continues and extends recent cross-national research on proximity and contacts of older parents to their children. In addition to a brief description of the ‘geography of families’ in ten continental European countries, determinants of intergenerational proximity and contacts are examined. Even when microlevel factors are controlled for, the Mediterranean peoples continue to exhibit closer family relations than their northern counterparts. We also find noteworthy systematic differences in the effects of some explanatory variables between traditionally ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ family countries. When looking at the contemporary European picture as a whole, we find no indication for a ‘decline’ of intergenerational relations.

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Presented in Session 19: Demographic change and the family