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Andrew Cherlin, PI

Year 2:  Intergenerational Support in an Era of Complex Kinship (Andrew J. Cherlin, PI)

Today Americans are more likely to marry and to divorce than in almost any other Western nation. Sequential marriages, rising levels of cohabitation, and non-marital parenthood over the past several decades have added complexity to the families of older persons. Andrew Cherlin, one of the foremost scholars on the family in the United States, and 2009 recipient of the Population Association of America’s Taueber award for his record of exceptionally innovative research, has long been concerned with the ways in which transformations in family life have affected children. He is now turning his attention to understanding the implications of our increasing diversity of family ties for support in later life.  The goals of this pilot are to use agent-based simulation models to describe patterns of intergenerational assistance in complex family networks. These analyses will provide initial insights into the way in which increasingly complex families respond to the abilities and needs of aging parents. Upon completion of this pilot, Cherlin and colleagues plan to prepare an application to NIH to analyze new data from the core NHATS survey, which will provide improved inputs for the simulation models developed in this pilot. The information gleaned form this project also is expected to provide input to a revision of an application submitted under the GO (Grand Opportunities) program to field an NHATS supplement that will collect highly detailed information on the families of a subset of NHATS survey respondents.