, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 95-113

Living arrangements of older malaysians: Who coresides with their adult children?

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Abstract

More than two-thirds of Malaysians age 60 or older coreside with an adult child. Data from the Senior sample of the Second Malaysian Family Life Survey (MFLS-2) are used to investigate which “seniors” (persons age 60 or older) live in this way. The analysis generally supports the notion that coresidence is influenced by the benefits, costs, opportunities, and preferences for coresidence versus separate living arrangements. For example, married seniors are more likely to coreside with adult children when housing costs are greater in their area or when the husband or wife is in poor health. This finding suggests that married parents and children live together to economize on living costs or to receive help with household services. Unmarried seniors who are better off economically are less likely to live with adult children, presumably because they use their higher incomes to “purchase privacy.”

The research reported in this paper has been supported by Grants R01 AG 08189 and P01 AG 08291 from the National Institute of Aging to RAND and by a grant to RAND from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The authors thank George Alter, Michael Brien, George Chan, Robert Chung, Eileen Crimmins, Frances Goldscheider, Avery Guest, John Haaga, Lee Lillard, Linda Martin, Phillip Morgan, Chor-Swang Ngin, Stan Panis, Christine Peterson, Omar Rahman, Nancy Riley, and the journal’s referees for their assistance and helpful comments. This is a revised version of a paper presented at the 1991 annual meetings of the Population Association of America, held in Washington D.C.; at the LPPKN seminar on the Second Malaysian Family Life Survey, held in Kuala Lumpur, October 1991; and at the RAND Conference on Economic and Demographic Aspects of Intergenerational Relations, held in March 1992.