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Hum Nat. 1990 Sep;1(3):211-32. doi: 10.1007/BF02733984.

Giving between generations in American families.

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Population Issues Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, 22 Burrowes Building, 16803, University Park, PA.


This paper documents the types and amounts of aid exchanged between adults and their non-coresidential parents. Data for the study are drawn from a representative national sample survey of Americans age 19 and older conducted in 1987-1988. Exchanges of monetary and material resources, childcare, household assistance, and companionship and advice are considered.Patterns of intergenerational exchange are found to differ by gender, family structure, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic situation. Differences in exchange between males and females and between whites and Mexican-Americans are related to other life-course characteristics, and to the availability and proximity of kin. Blacks and persons living in poverty are shown to be less involved than other groups in intergenerational exchanges. Finally, patterns of prior assistance and the available needs and resources of the respondents and their parents are found to influence current patterns of exchange.


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