Three-Generation Family Households in Early Childhood: Comparisons between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia

Natasha Pilkauskas, Columbia University
Melissa L. Martinson, University of Washington

Using data from three nationally representative longitudinal birth cohort studies, this study documents the prevalence of three-generation family households in early childhood in the United States (US), Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK). We also investigate differences in coresidence by key demographic characteristics (immigrant status, age, income) of three-generation family households to better understand the characteristics of these households cross-nationally. This study extends previous research by 1) focusing on the youngest generation in these households, 2) using longitudinal data to study patterns of coresidence in early childhood, and 3) making cross-national comparisons to elucidate the roles of policy and culture in the development of three-generation family households. Preliminary results suggest that three-generation family households are much more common in the US than in the UK or Australia. By age 5, 25% of US children, 8.4% of UK children, and 11.2% of Australian children have lived in a three-generation family household.

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Presented in Session 23: Comparative Perspectives on Family Policy and Outcomes