Pew Research data on single-person household, age 65+ trends
Pew Research data on single-person household, age 65+ trends

Household composition patterns are in flux, not just among the vaunted young adults, who tend in greater numbers to live with their parents. Older adults, or, in this case, older adult, seem to gravitate toward living with their children, or even, gadzooks!, their spouse, as they age.

Pew Research analyst Renee Stepler reports on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data that illustrates that from 1990 to 2014, the share of older adults living alone declined by 3 percentage points, to 26%. Among older women, the share declined to 32% in 2014 from 38% in 1990. Stepler writes:

One explanation for this trend is that an increase in life expectancy, especially among men, has made it more likely that older women would be living with their spouses rather than as widows.

Among women ages 65 to 84 – the group that has almost exclusively driven the overall decline in the share of older Americans living alone – the share living alone has declined by 8 percentage points since 1990, reaching 30% in 2014. During the same period, the share of this group living with a spouse increased from 41% to 46%. Women in this age group were also more likely to be unmarried and living with their children or with other relatives or non-relatives in 2014.

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