The role of step children in the provision of family support: a comparison of Mexico and the U.S.

Beth J. Soldo, University of Pennsylvania
John C. Henretta, University of Florida

Higher levels of remarriage coupled with declining fertility have produced more blended families and a higher proportion of step children across a range of societies. Family support networks play a central role in economic and social life in middle income countries, but we know little about differences between middle and high income countries in the role of step-children in family support networks. We examine the role of step children in provision and receipt of family support in Mexico and the USA. Data for Mexico are from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) and, for the USA, are from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). MHAS is modeled on HRS and measures many of the same concepts. Using the two data sets, we estimate parallel models for provision and receipt of family support by children and step children. We discuss the implications of kin substitution for social policy.

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Presented in Session 9: Prospects for the family support of older people and their implications