ISER Working Paper Series 2000-09
The living arrangements of elderly Europeans
01 Feb 2000
This paper uses data from the European Household Panel survey to chart the living arrangements of older people in 13 countries across the European Union, focusing particularly on whether older people live with a spouse, with their children, or with other adults. There are wide variations between men and women, mainly due to the fact that women are widowed at a much earlier age than men; there are large variations with age; and there are also large differences between countries. Men and women in a 'Southern', or 'Catholic' group of countries are much more likely to live with their children, either with or without a partner, than men and women in 'Northern', or 'Protestant' countries, who tend to live with just a partner, or to live alone. A large proportion of the older people in our sample who live with their children are receiving care within the household, particularly in the Southern countries; we also find that the giving of care is to a large extent reciprocal, with child care being provided within the household by the 'younger old', to almost the same extent as care is provided by other family members to the 'older old'. However, this reciprocity of care holds only in the case of women; older men living with their children provide very little child care, while receiving the same amount of care as older women.