Are Changing Family Structures Redirecting the Flow of Mother's and Father's Financial Transfers to Their Adult Children?

Shelley Clark, University of Chicago
Catherine T. Kenney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

As divorce and remarriage have become prominent features of American families, extensive research has focused on the effect of these family changes on children's and teens' emotional and financial wellbeing and on parental investment in education. Although resources from parents continue to be important to adult children—helping pay for houses, weddings, higher education, or simply helping to make ends meet—little research has examined how divorce and remarriage influence such transfers. Using data from the 1992 Health and Retirement Survey, we examine how financial transfers from older adults to their adult children vary by the parents' sex and marital and re-marital status. Consistent with prior research, we find that parents who remain married give more to their children than single divorced parents or remarried parents. However, we also discover that remarriage reduces men's contributions to their prior biological children more than it does women's contributions.

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Presented in Session 108: Intergenerational Wealth Transmission