Next to kin: How children influence the residential mobility decisions of older adults

Jaclene Begley, Sewin Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the residential mobility of older adults, with a focus on the influence of distance to children on those decisions. Using the geocoded Health and Retirement Study, we statistically estimate the importance of adult child proximity on older adult moves after controlling for a host of other factors. We find that having adult children nearby is associated with a lower propensity to move, with closer proximity generally having a stronger negative relationship, up to a distance of 50 miles. These results are more pronounced if we define mobility as having moved at least 30 miles, or across metropolitan areas. We also show that the relationship is stronger for those with care needs, and for renters compared with homeowners. Results for the baby boomer cohort suggest that the proximity of children continues to have an important influence on older adult mobility among more recent cohorts of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100394
JournalJournal of the Economics of Ageing
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Aging
  • Children
  • Housing
  • Mobility
  • Parents
  • Proximity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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