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Distance to elderly parents: Analyses of Swedish register data
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2007 (English)In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 17, no 23, 679-704 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present study, features of and trends in child-parent proximity in Sweden are analyzed using comprehensive register data. The results show that 85% of older parents have adult children within a radius of 50 km, of which 10% live ‘just around the corner’; corresponding figures for adult children are 72% and 5%, respectively. The study gives no indication of increasing intergenerational distances. Results from logistic regressions show that adult children who are well educated, female, older, born in Sweden, who are not parents, who live in densely populated areas, and have siblings are less likely to stay in the same region as their parents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 17, no 23, 679-704 p.
Keyword [en]
adult children, intergenerational contacts, child-parent proximity, logistic regression analysis, old parents, distance, ageing, registerdata, Sweden
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7501DOI: 10.4054/DemRes.2007.17.23OAI: diva2:147172
Available from: 2008-01-10 Created: 2008-01-10 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A family landscape: On the geographical distances between elderly parents and adult children in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A family landscape: On the geographical distances between elderly parents and adult children in Sweden
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With a background in the ageing of the population and the new challenges facing individuals, families and the welfare state, the aim of this thesis is to analyse the changing family landscape and the geographical distances between elderly parents and adult children.

The thesis consists of four empirical studies derived from three different sources of data: In the first paper (Paper I), historical population data is combined with modern register data for two Swedish regions. In the second and third papers, individual-level register data covering the entire Swedish population serves as the empirical starting point. The fourth paper leaves the registers aside and builds upon interviews. Paper I provides an introduction and historical background to the question of intergenerational geographical proximity and distance. The paper analyses intergenerational distances and seeks to compare and discuss the significance of the variations. It is shown that concerning extreme proximity a great decrease has occurred over 200 years, however when it comes to having kin within reach the decrease is less dramatic, and that now, just as then, a majority of elderly parents have an adult child within reach. The article concludes that even though geographical distances between generations vary over time and space, no clear linear trend towards intergenerational geographical separation can be established. In Paper II we analyse some features and trends in intergenerational distances in Sweden. We find that 10% of all elderly parents have at least one child living very close and that a majority, 85%, have an adult child within reach. The study shows no clear trend towards increasing intergenerational separation, but suggests that periods of intense societal restructuring, such urbanisation, can lead to spells of increased intergenerational separation on an aggregated level. Paper III investigates whether, and to what extent, elderly parents and adult children move close to each other. We find that even though the older generation makes up a smaller share of the moves made, when they do move they are more likely to move closer to an adult child. Further, having more than one relative at a destination adds to the attraction, and that older elderly are less likely to move close to a child than younger elderly. One interpretation is that young-old parents serve as a resource for their adult children, while older elderly are more influenced by the need for welfare state based assistance. The last paper, IV, returns to the elderly parents living very close to an adult child. In interviews with 14 elderly the aim of the paper is to gain new understanding about the interaction between intergenerational proximity, assistance and the meaning of being close. Some of the issues raised in the paper relate to migration histories, reciprocity and independence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, Department of Social and Economic Geography, 2011. 80 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2011:1
Family, elderly parents, adult children, intergenerational, child-parent proximity, migration, distance, ageing, support, register data, Sweden
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-38876 (URN)978-91-978344-5-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-01-28, Samhällsvetarhuset, hörsal D, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
I två av delarbetena har författaren efternamnet Pettersson.Available from: 2011-01-07 Created: 2011-01-05 Last updated: 2012-07-10Bibliographically approved

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Malmberg, GunnarPettersson, Anna
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