You are here

Living arrangements and intergenerational support among immigrant and Canadian-born seniors

TitleLiving arrangements and intergenerational support among immigrant and Canadian-born seniors
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTian, S.
UniversityUniversity of Toronto
CityToronto, ON

In the context of population aging, growing scholarly attention has been paid to intergenerational relations between seniors and their adult children. However, with increasing proportions of the senior population being foreign born, scholars of family gerontology and immigrant scholars have not joined forces to study intergenerational relations in later-life immigrant families. This dissertation addresses this gap in the literature by examining nativity differences in three aspects of intergenerational relations: living arrangements, intergenerational economic support, and grandchild care. Using pooled data from Canadian censuses and the National Household Survey (NHS), the first analytical chapter finds that, from 1981 to 2011, the higher propensity for immigrant seniors to coreside with their adult children compared to Canadian-born seniors continued to increase. A regression decomposition approach further reveals that the most important factor underlying these temporal trends is shifting immigrant source regions towards countries where intergenerational coresidence is more of a norm. Focusing on coresidential households, the second analytical chapter finds diverse patterns of intergenerational economic support based on nativity status of both elderly parents and adult children and on race. These patterns are explained by compositional differences in demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of adult children more than by those characteristics of elderly parents. Finally, the third analytical chapter examines nativity differences in occasional and regular grandchild care using the General Social Survey (GSS) Cycle 21 and Cycle 25. Immigrant grandfathers with immigrant adult children are less likely to assist with any grandchild care compared to Canadian-born grandfathers, but no nativity difference is found among grandmothers. In addition, compared to those in Canadian-born families, immigrant adult children have lower odds of regularly using child care by grandparents versus using parental care only. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the importance of adding a family perspective to studies on immigrant seniors and the importance of ascertaining the underlying factors of nativity differences in intergenerational relations.

Document URL