Contact and proximity of older people to their adult children: a comparison between Italy and Sweden
Valeria Bordone, University of Mannheim
This work extends the recent research on contact and geographic distance between older-parents and their adult- children. In the past Southern-European socio-cultural context, older-parents could count on at least one child living near them, while in Northern-European countries the nuclear weak-family system prevailed. Population ageing and changing socio-demographic trends in Italy raise the question of whether the differences between the “Mediterranean-patriarchal model” and the “Northern-European model” still exist or whether there is convergence towards patterns in vanguard countries (Sweden). The main question addressed in this paper is “which variables account for the different levels of kin contact and spatial proximity in Italy and Sweden?”. Of particular interest is the role played by education to determine proximity and contact of older parents to their adult-children in Italy and Sweden. Logistic regression models are run on SHARE data by controlling for socio-economic, demographic and health-related characteristics of both the parent and the first-child. Although cultural patterns appear to be still strongly associated to the level of intergenerational relationship, the increase of the number of highly educated people and divorce rates in both the countries might lead towards similar behaviours.