Volume 49 - Article 7 | Pages 143–156  

Geographic proximity to siblings in older adulthood

By Alyona Artamonova, Brian Joseph Gillespie


Background: Research on older adults’ geographic proximity to their family has focused almost exclusively on intergenerational distances, while factors associated with intragenerational proximity have received little attention.

Objective: We explore associations between (1) having at least one sibling nearby and characteristics of older adults (aged 65‒84), and (2) proximity to siblings and characteristics of dyads of siblings.

Methods: Drawing on Swedish population register data from 2016, we use multi-level logistic regression models to investigate individual-, dyad-, and family-level determinants of close proximity to siblings.

Results: Based on information about 987,486 individuals nested within 475,644 family groups, nearly 35% of Swedish older adults have their closest sibling living within 10 km.The likelihood of living close to at least one sibling is higher for those with a parent nearby, without partners and children, the less-educated, and living in urban areas and/or their counties of birth. This likelihood decreases with age. At the family level, having more than one sibling, same-gender siblings, and only full siblings are associated with living near a sibling. Based on information about 814,506 dyads, the propensity of close intragenerational distance is higher for those with a parent nearby, without partners or children, brothers, full siblings, the less-educated, and those living in counties of birth and urban areas.

Contribution: This study contributes to the knowledge about the geography of siblings – the family members that might emerge as more active players in older adults’ family networks.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Nonresident family as a motive for migration
Volume 42 - Article 13

Variations in migration motives over distance
Volume 40 - Article 38

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Educational reproduction in Sweden: A replication of Skopek and Leopold 2020 using Swedish data
Volume 48 - Article 25    | Keywords: differential fertility, education, prospective models, reproduction, social mobility, Sweden

A register-based account of period trends in union prevalence, entries, and exits by educational level for men and women in Finland
Volume 48 - Article 14    | Keywords: cohabitation, divorce, education, Finland, marriage, register data, trends, union dissolution

World population aging as a function of period demographic conditions
Volume 48 - Article 13    | Keywords: aging, demographic transition, population

Gender and educational inequalities in disability-free life expectancy among older adults living in Italian regions
Volume 47 - Article 29    | Keywords: disability, gender, health, inequalities, Italy, mortality, older adults, regions

Disentangling the Swedish fertility decline of the 2010s
Volume 47 - Article 12    | Keywords: childbearing, fertility, fertility decline, fertility trends, Sweden