The Generational Structures of U.S. Families and Their Intergenerational Transfers

Emily Wiemers, University of Massachusetts at Boston
Judith A. Seltzer, University of California, Los Angeles
Robert Schoeni, University of Michigan
V. Joseph Hotz, Duke University
Suzanne M. Bianchi, University of California, Los Angeles

American families have undergone dramatic changes in their generational structure and composition. We use new data from the 2013 Rosters and Transfers Module in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to answer two questions: What is the “generational structure” and composition of American families? What is the incidence and extent to which members of these families help one another with time and money? This paper provides some of the first population representative evidence of the generational structure of American families. Our analysis of transfers sheds light on how the ties between generations are affected by the changes in the generational structure of US families and examines whether the increasing presence of step parent and step child relationships simply gives individuals a larger family on whom they can rely or if ties are weakened even as the number of intergenerational ties grows.

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Presented in Session 112: Intergenerational Structure and Transfers