Volume 43 - Article 12 | Pages 315–328  

Living separately but living close: Coresidence of adult children and parents in urban China

By Yiqing Gan, Eric Fong

This article is part of the Special Collection 28 "Life-Course Decisions of Families in China"


Background: Studies in previous decades have shown that patterns of intergenerational coresidence in China have been diminishing. However, few studies have documented the level of intergenerational coresidence for a wide range of ages. Furthermore, most studies on the topic are based on data collected more than 10 years ago.

Objective: In this study, we document the intergenerational coresidence patterns of a wide range of ages, from 25 to 60, in urban China. We employ updated national data collected in 2013 that covers 2,585 counties in China.

Methods: We conducted three sets of analysis. The first set includes all cases. For the second set, we kept cases with at least one parent living in the same city and conducted the same analysis as in the first set. The dependent variable of these two sets of analysis is whether the adult child coresides with at least one parent. The third set includes only those adult children who do not live with their parents. We explore the probability of adult children at different ages living in the same city as their parents.

Results: There is a U-shaped relationship between the age of adult children and the predicted probability of coresidence with parents. The predicted probability of intergenerational coresidence is higher among younger and older adult children, although it remains low at all ages. More importantly, among those living separately, we found a positive linear relationship between the age of the adult child and the predicted probability of living in the same city.

Contribution: The findings suggest that coresidence of parents and adult children is no longer a dominant intergenerational living arrangement pattern in urban China. Living separately but close has become a dominant pattern.

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Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Introduction to the special collection on life course decisions of families in China
Volume 43 - Article 5

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