Childlessness and Intergenerational Transfers in Old Age

Marco Albertini, Università di Bologna
Martin Kohli, European University Institute

In the last decades the proportion of childless adults has significantly increased in most European societies. Previous research has suggested that childless elderly people are at higher risk of lacking support when they become frail and dependent. On the other hand, it has also been hypothesized that the social consequences of being childless may be different depending on the specific paths into childlessness. We aim to show what different types of childless elderly people receive from and contribute to their kin, friends and to society at large, both in terms of financial and social support. Our results provide support to the hypothesis that childless elderly people are more likely than parents to lack informal social support when getting old and frail, and are more likely to access formal care. We also show that these consequences vary strongly across the different types of childlessness.

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 Presented in Session 112. Intergenerational Structure and Transfers