Projections of white and black older adults without living kin in the United States, 2015 to 2060

These trends make the displacement of local aging networks by corporate health firms in the Medicaid LTC program even more alarming . We need many more community based resources not fewer. Baozhen Luo and I address this directly in our Neoliberal LTC paper in The Gerontologist, but we didn’t have this information to include in our argument.Its part of the larger erosion of community assets caused by the corporate hollowing out of local/ regional institutions and the emergence of a neoliberal moral culture designed to convince us that we’re on our own and only our market resources can help us . Very few older people, or younger for that matter too, have the level of private resources to make it on their own as the corporate elites try to deceive us into believing. 

You can read our article from the Gerontologist here

Close kin provide many important functions as adults age, affecting health, financial well-being, and happiness. Those without kin report higher rates of loneliness and experience elevated risks of chronic illness and nursing facility placement. Historical racial differences and recent shifts in core demographic rates suggest that white and black older adults in the United States may have unequal availability of close kin and that this gap in availability will widen in the coming decades. Whereas prior work explores the changing composition and size of the childless population or those without spouses, here we consider the kinless population of older adults with no living close family members and how this burden is changing for different race and sex groups. Using demographic microsimulation and the United States Census Bureau’s recent national projections of core demographic rates by race, we examine two definitions of kinlessness: those without a partner or living children, and those without a partner, children, siblings, or parents. Our results suggest dramatic growth in the size of the kinless population as well as increasing racial disparities in percentages kinless. These conclusions are driven by declines in marriage and are robust to different assumptions about the future trajectory of divorce rates or growth in nonmarital partnerships. Our findings draw attention to the potential expansion of older adult loneliness, which is increasingly considered a threat to population health, and the unequal burden kinlessness may place on black Americans.


Read the full Journal here.