“The Apple doesn’t Live Far from the Tree”:
Living Distances between Parents and their Adult Children in Europe

Bettina Isengard

Abstract


Geographic proximity or distance between parents and their adult children is a fundamental, if not the decisive prerequisite for intergenerational solidarity. But why do some parents and their children live closer together than others? And why are there national differences in Europe? The objective of this article is to better understand the causes of geographical proximity or distance using the SHARE data of 14 European countries. In addition to personal characteristics of the parents and children, familial structures and cultural contextual differences between the countries are also in the focus of interest. The findings suggest that especially age and family-cycle influences have an impact on the living distance between the generations, but that socio-economic and origin-specific correlations are also important. A comparison reveals that geographical proximity or distance varies across countries. In the south of Europe parents and adult children live far closer together, which is not merely due to co-residence. The differences can primarily be ascribed to cultural as well as institutional influences and the associated social consequences.

Keywords


Geographical distance between family members; Intergenerational relationships; Europe; SHARE

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