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Keywords:

  • family structure;
  • international comparison;
  • socioeconomic status

This article examines the relationship between socioeconomic status and having living children and parents among 55- to 63-year-old women in the United States and Britain. The goals are to quantify the outcomes of slightly different demographic regimes on close kin networks and to assess the potential implications of policies that in both countries increasingly emphasize family responsibility. In the cohorts examined, U.S. respondents are substantially more likely to have living parents and children, but the pattern of socioeconomic effects is similar across countries. Higher socioeconomic status is associated with having fewer children and, less consistently, is associated with a higher probability of having living parents and being childless. However, higher-status women are more likely to have both living parents and children.