9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Intergernerational Relationships: Solidarity Building II, C5.06

The Apple Doesn´t Live Far from the Tree: Geographical Proximity Between Parents and Their Adult Children in Europe

Geographical distance between parents and their adult children is one of the most basic prerequisites for many forms of solidarity among generations. Proximity facilitates personal communication, help at home, support of grandchildren, as well as care. Conversely, spatial distance limits the possibilities of inter-generational solidarity, except of financial transfers. Although living distance between parents and their offspring is important for intergenerational solidarity, little is yet known especially about country-specific divergences and convergences. For this reason, we investigate spatial distances between generations in a number of European countries. Which individual characteristics of both generations and which family structures influence geographical proximity between parents and their adult children? Are there differences between countries, and if so, how can they be explained?
The empirical analyses are based on the second wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), including 13 European countries, ranging from Denmark and Sweden to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic. On the basis of multi-level ordered logistic regression models, for example, one finds that individual needs and opportunities of parents and children are strong predictors for geographical distance between households. Family structures play an important role, too. Nevertheless, substantial country-specific differences can be observed, for example, spatial distance between parents and their adult children is especially small in Southern European countries and in Poland.