The Actual and Expected Availability of Informal Caregivers: Childless People versus Parents in the U.S.

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

Current estimates indicate that 87% of Americans who are in need of long-term care receive it from unpaid caregivers. Given that adult children are one of the most important sources of informal care, it may be expected that childless older people, whose proportion has been growing, are at higher risk than parents of a lack of social support. We aim to explore how childlessness affects the probability that people with disabilities receive informal care, and whether childless elderly people differ from parents in their expectations regarding the future availability of informal caregivers. A novelty of this study is that we distinguish between different types of childlessness and explore their consequences for actual and expected social support. Our results confirm previous findings about the weaker informal networks of childless people. The gap in the likelihood of getting help between parents and childless people appears to be similar for most of the models of actual and expected support.

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Presented in Session 42: Families in Later Life