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Race and independent living among elderly Brazilians since 1980

Susan De Vos, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Flavia Andrade, University of Wisconsin at Madison

This paper examines independent living among elderly Brazilians 65+ of different racial groups since 1980. Consistent with current ideas about the living arrangements of elderly people around the world, there was an overall increase in independent living among Brazilian elders. However, the increase mainly reflects change among White Brazilians whereas there was little change among Browns or Blacks. Since in general Whites tend to have higher socioeconomic status than Browns and Blacks in Brazil, one might suppose that a racial disparity merely reflects socioeconomic differences, and that disparate change merely reflects differential change among different social strata. We find from examining microsamples of the 1980 and 2000 censuses that, 1) there is a net racial difference in independent living in both 1980 and 2000, and 2) there is a net racial difference in change among unmarried men. Cultural or minority status factor not captured by the structural characteristics included in our statistical models may explain these findings.

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Presented in Session 135: Household demography and living arrangements