Three-Generation Households in the U.S.: The First Exit After a Child's Birth

Publication Year


Journal Article
Despite the increased prevalence of three-generation households in the U.S., there is still a limited understanding of the dynamics of dissolution of these households. Using event-history analysis and data drawn from the first five waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and its restricted contextual data, this study describes how long mothers and their newborns spend in three-generation households after the child's birth and whether this duration differs by race and ethnicity. Additionally, it examines the correlates of the first transition out and whether they differ by race and ethnicity. Results indicate that children and their mothers are more likely to experience the first exit between birth and age 1, and a formal test does not find significant differences by race and ethnicity. Several non-economic factors are positively associated with the exit out of three-generation households including a mother's marital status and having a new partner; factors with a negative association include the number of children in the household and whether the focal child is a mother's first kid. Finally, TANF or SNAP receipt and mothers' employment are both positively associated with the first exit out of three-generation households. There are not significant differences in correlates of first exit by race and ethnicity. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Children and Youth Services Review