Living with adult children: a benefit assessment of co-resident living arrangements among black and white older South Africans


South Africa serves as an instructive case for the study of living arrangements. Co-residence with a child is the rule for the black elderly and the exception for the white elderly. The article analyses the living arrangements of black and while elderly drawing on a national database (Ferreira et al.. 1992). The focus of attention is the co-resident living arrangement. The article explores the determinants of co-residence and discusses the specific benefits accruing to the older person and the adult child. The findings suggest that traditional social security arrangements for the black elderly are adapting to the rapid social change taking place in South Africa. Notably, daughters as well as sons are involved in carrying out filial piety duties, especially in the urban areas. There are signs in the data that poor housing conditions and a lack of choice in housing place family relations under severe strain in the urban areas. Overall, co-residence is generally perceived as a positive experience by the elderly. It is recommended that the extended family living arrangement deserves consideration as both an acceptable and a viable option for the care of the elderly in South Africa in the foreseeable future.