, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1559–1579 | Cite as

Purchasing Piety? Coresidence of Married Children With Their Older Parents in Japan

  • Emiko Takagi
  • Merril Silverstein


We investigated the conditions under which married children live with their older parents in Japan. We focused on how needs and resources in each generation are associated with whether married couples live with their parents in parent-headed and child-headed households, and we also investigated difference in power relations between older and younger generations and between children and their spouses. We analyzed a nationally representative sample of older parents (n  =  3,853) and their married children (n  =  8,601) from the 1999 Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging (NUJLSOA). Mutinomial regression revealed that married children with relatively affluent parents tended to live with them in parent-headed households and that married children with parents who are in relatively poor health or who are widowed tended to live with them in child-headed households. We also found that less-educated married children tended to live in the households of their higher-income parents, suggesting that parents may be “purchasing” traditional arrangements with less-affluent children. In addition, children with an educational advantage over their spouses were more likely to have parents living with them in child-headed coresident households. We conclude that traditional multigenerational coresidence has become a commodity negotiated within families based on relative resources and needs within and across generations.


Intergenerational relationship Living arrangement Coresidence Filial piety Japan 



This research was partially supported by Grants AG021656 and AG021609 from the National Institute on Aging. We would like to thank the Nihon University Center for Information Networking for use of the Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging data. We especially would like to thank Dr. Yasuhiko Saito at Nihon University for his assistance in accessing the data. We also appreciate the thoughtful comments and suggestions provided from the anonymous reviewers of Demography.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health ScienceTowson UniversityTowsonUSA
  2. 2.Davis School of GerontologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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