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Families are growing closer (or at least not moving far apart)

December 24, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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This holiday, the majority of families don’t have to go over the river and through the wood to get to grandma’s house.

Americans live a median distance of 18 miles from their mother. Only 20 percent live more than a couple hours’ drive from their parents, according to a New York Times Upshot analysis. Researchers tend to study distance from mothers because they are more likely to be caregivers and live longer than men.

“Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study,” a longitudinal study of health, retirement and aging sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, found Americans have become less mobile over the last few decades and most adults don’t venture far from their hometowns.

The most-cited reason for living near home is family ties, while the most-cited reason for leaving is job opportunities, according to a Pew Research Center survey. With the exception of college or military service, 37 percent of Americans had never lived outside their hometown, and 57 percent had never left their state.

Researchers expect people to stay put. A growing number of dual-income families need help with childcare. Grandparents are expected to care for their grandchildren, and their children will care for them later in life.

Tell us: Do the findings hold true for your residents? Do they have family nearby? How often do loved ones visit?


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