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Institute for Social Research pres.

Beyond the Nuclear Family: Children and Shared Living Arrangements

Natasha V. Pilkauskas

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Contact PSC Office for Zoom details.

Children's living arrangements are diverse and complex, and a robust body of research has documented links between living arrangements, economic wellbeing, and child outcomes. Despite increasing recognition of the diversity in children's living arrangements most research continues to focus on the nuclear family. This talk draws on a number of published and papers in progress that focus on shared living arrangements of children in the U.S. - examining the people children live with beyond their nuclear family. I will describe trends in household extension over time and across the child's life course showing differences by key demographic groups and patterns of coresidence. I find that although shared living arrangements among children have become more common over the last 20 years, this increase is nearly entirely driven by an increase in multigenerational/three-generation family households (grandparent, parent and child). In 1980, 5% of children lived in a multigenerational household and today nearly 10% do likewise. I'll present results of decomposition analyses that examine the factors that have led to this large increase. By understanding the diverse nature of children's living arrangements and how these arrangements are changing over time, we can better consider how public policies and programs might better support children's development.

Natasha Pilkauskas is an assistant professor of public policy at the Ford School. Pilkauskas' research considers how social policy might improve the developmental and life trajectories of low-income children. Much of her research focuses on the living arrangements of low-income children, especially those who live with grandparents. Past and current projects also investigate the role of family/kin transfers in helping families make ends meet; links between maternal employment and school outcomes; the effectiveness of the Earned Income Tax Credit; and the effects of the Great Recession on low-income households. Pilkauskas received a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University and a PhD in social welfare policy from Columbia University.

PSC Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.

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