Microsimulation Paper No. 2

Family Structure and Institutionalization: Results from Merged Data


James McNally and Douglas A. Wolf

January 1996

Abstract:  Research on the patterns and behavioral consequences of kin networks among the older population is limited due to the shortcomings of most available survey data. Often, household surveys obtain little information on the number and characteristics of nonresident kin. Moreover, surveys are often confined to the noninstitutionalized population. One possible solution is to merge information from multiple sources, in order to achieve the requisite coverage of populations and data content.

This paper reports on the development of a hybrid data base containing observations from the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) and the 1989 National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS). One population group-disabled noninstitutionalized elders-is represented in both data sources. However, there is insufficient detail with which to identify such persons in the NSFH. Instead, we develop a probabilistic model for identifying which NSFH cases are drawn from the same population as is the NLTCS, and randomly discard them from the pooled sample using a multiple imputation approach.

A multivariate analysis of the prevalence of nursing home residence based on the pooled sample reveals that the numbers of sons and daughters have different effects on the risk of nursing home residence among older men and women.

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