Beyond Household Walls: The Spatial Structure of American Kinship Networks

Jonathan Daw, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Ashton M. Verdery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kinship networks are a social network in which pairs are connected through biological, social, and legal pathways. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this paper investigates the spatial structure of these networks. We find that spousal and parent/child pairs are the most likely to live in the same Census tract, followed by full/half siblings and grandparent/grandchild pairs. Less obviously, kin pairs vary widely in the average distance between them, and this varies by age and educational attainment. Analyzing the determinants of moving behaviors that influence these relationships, we find: distance moved follows a normal distribution with a thick right tail; persons age 40+ are less likely to move; Hispanics have higher odds of moving; women are more likely to move (but shorter distances); higher-educated persons are less likely to move (but move further); and respondents in more recent periods have been more likely to move (but shorter distances).

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Presented in Session 56: Intergenerational Relations