Population Research and Policy Review 19: 179–198, 2000.
© 2000 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Nativity, duration of residence and the life course pattern
of extended family living in the USA
JENNIFER E. GLICK
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Abstract. Recent changes in US immigration policy and domestic welfare policies affecting
immigrants have led to concerns that families will face greater pressure to provide for extended
family members. Extended family households are important resources for new immigrants to
the USA and an integral part of the adaptive strategy of immigrants. This paper examines the
competing roles of duration of residence in the USA, aging and changes over time in explain-
ing increases in extended family living between 1980 and 1990. The results from a pooled
sample of 1980 and 1990 Census data indicate that recent arrivals are more likely to share
households with extended kin but it is older immigrants who face an increased likelihood of
such coresidence over time. Multinomial logistic regression analysis demonstrates that the life
course pattern of coresidence remains when changes in socioeconomic status are controlled.
The results suggest that policy changes limiting public funds available to new arrivals will
have a larger impact on families sponsoring older family members.
Keywords: Extended family, Immigration, Life course
There have been many changes in immigration to the USA in the last several
decades, both in terms of the number of immigrants and the characteristics of
the immigrant population. Such changes lead to concerns about the adaptation
of new arrivals in several spheres including socioeconomic attainment and
family patterns (Borjas 1994; Edmonston & Passel 1994; Rumbaut 1997).
Such concerns are also reﬂected in recent policy changes. The 1996 Welfare
Reform Act sought to limit the availability of public assistance to immig-
rants and the 1997 Immigration Reform Act applied more stringent ﬁnancial
standards for family members seeking to sponsor others for immigration to
the United States (Espenshade et al. 1998). Taken together, these policies may
increase the costs of family reuniﬁcation for immigrant families.
Requiring individuals to demonstrate the ability to economically support
new arrivals may simply reinforce and codify norms of family obligation that
many immigrants bring with them. However, new arrivals of different ages
may have different needs that lead to a greater or lesser reliance on extended