Trends in the Prevalence of Multigenerational Households in Chile

By: María Beatriz Fernández   María Soledad Herrera  

Chile is a country that is aging at an accelerated rate, with 16.2% of its population being 60 years old or older; it also has the highest aging rate in Latin America after Uruguay Further, Chile’s life expectancy is an average of 80.5 years. Another demographic phenomenon that Chile is experiencing is the decline in the fertility rate, which moved from a little more than five children per woman in 1960 to 1.9 children in the year 2010. This decrease in fertility, together with the increase in life expectancy, provide a unique opportunity for intergenerational coexistence. In terms of residential arrangements, co-residence between several generations seems to be a practice that is increasing in some countries . For example, in the United States it went from 3.7% of multigenerational households in 2000 to 5.6% in 2011, which is equivalent to about 4.3 million households. Some countries in southern and eastern Europe show a similar trend. However, in the countries of northern Europe the situation is rather opposite, with a low presence of multigenerational households and a tendency to decline. In the case of Latin America, Huenchuán (2009) finds a positive relationship with the aging of countries and the presence of multigenerational households. For the specific case of Chile, there is little information on this subject, and therefore, the objective of this study is to characterize the incidence of multigenerational co-residence and establish whether it has increased or decreased over time, based on data from the Censuses and CASEN Survey.

Multigenerational household, Elderly people, Census
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

María Beatriz Fernández

Assistent Professor, Sociology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile

María Soledad Herrera

Associated Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile