Black-white and urban-rural differences in stability of household composition among elderly persons.
The dynamic nature of household composition in a population of elderly persons, with particular focus on Black-White and urban-rural differences, is described in this study. The Duke EPESE is a stratified, random household sample (N = 4,162) of elderly persons in a five-county mixed urban-rural area of North Carolina with respondents contacted annually to report on health and social factors. Between 1986 and 1990, 35 percent of the households underwent some change in composition, with 14 percent contracting and/or expanding more than once. Where elders lived alone and where married elders lived with the spouse and/or others, Black elders were significantly more likely to experience a net expansion of their household than were White elders of the same age, gender, socioeconomic, and functional status. Elderly residents of rural areas who lived alone were slightly more likely to add one or more persons to their households than were comparable elderly urban residents. No additional risk of household instability was noted in sociodemographic or health-related subgroups by race or residence. Future analyses should examine the outcomes of instability.
Hays, JC; Fillenbaum, GG; Gold, DT; Shanley, MC; Blazer, DG
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