Geographic configuration of family networks – regional differences in geographical proximity to parents, siblings and adult children

Emma Lundholm, Umeå University

In ageing societies there are concerns about regional disparities in dependency ratio resulting in an increased pressure on the welfare state, especially in rural areas. The potential need for care through the public sector is however also dependent on access to local family networks and it is therefore of interest to also look at disparities between regions when it comes to family networks. Care and support within families is important for both younger and older generations and geographic proximity is an essential aspect of family networks. The configuration of family networks is the result of migration in different phases of life, made by the individual or other family members. The aggregated migration flows, for instance urbanisation processes, leave their marks in the family networks, for example elderly people left behind in the rural areas and young families in urban areas with less child care support. The focus of this study is the regional differences in proximity between family members and the demographic processes that produce geographic variation in elderly people’s access to family networks with special attention to how this pattern is shaped by previous and contemporary migration flows. The study is based on Swedish register data and covers the entire Swedish population where individuals are linked to parents, siblings and adult children, additionally, partners parents and siblings are also included in the analysis.

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Presented in Session 24: Intergenerational contact and proximity

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