Familial Financial Assistance to Young Adults

Patrick Wightman, University of Michigan
Robert Schoeni, University of Michigan
Keith D. Robinson, University of Texas at Austin

The transition to adulthood has changed greatly in recent years: increasingly fragmented educational and career trajectories and delayed marriages. There is evidence that parents are, if not facilitating, then at least supporting their young adult children as they delay economic and social autonomy (Settersten, 2010; Schoeni & Ross, 2005). This paper uses the Transition to Adulthood (TA) supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to describe the financial relationship between young adults and their parents. Using logit and Heckman selection models, respectively, we examine the different types of assistance and their value as well as disparities in support by family socio-economic status. We also investigate the association between childhood characteristics and parental transfers and use sibling fixed-effects models to examine variation in support within families and across children. Finally we also examine how this relationship has been effected by the “Great Recession” that began late 2007.

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Presented in Session 12: The Demography of Young Adulthood in the United States