, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 903–931 | Cite as

Meet the Parents? Family Size and the Geographic Proximity Between Adult Children and Older Mothers in Sweden

  • Helena Holmlund
  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler


The aim of this study is to estimate the causal effect of family size on the proximity between older mothers and adult children by using a large administrative data set from Sweden. Our main results show that adult children in Sweden are not constrained by sibship size in choosing where to live: for families with more than one child, sibship size does not affect child-mother proximity. For aging parents, however, having fewer children reduces the probability of having at least one child living nearby, which is likely to have consequences for the intensity of intergenerational contact and eldercare.


Sibship size Geographic proximity Intergenerational links Instrumental variable 



We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Economic and Social Research Council under Grant RES-000-22-2684 and through the Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) (Award No. RES-518-28-001). Helena Holmlund would also like to thank the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation for financial support. We also thank seminar participants at the 2007 IZA Workshop on Long-Term Care, the 2009 ESPE conference, and seminar participants at the University St. Gallen.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Holmlund
    • 1
    • 2
  • Helmut Rainer
    • 3
    • 4
  • Thomas Siedler
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Swedish Institute for Social ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Centre for Economic PerformanceLSELondonUK
  3. 3.Ifo Institute–Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.CESifoMunichGermany
  5. 5.University of HamburgHamburgGermany
  6. 6.DIW BerlinBerlinGermany
  7. 7.University of EssexEssexUK

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