Science leak: Who lives close to siblings in later life?

Siblings often share strong emotional bonds and can provide valuable support in later life. Therefore, it is interesting to know who lives near at least one sibling during their later years.

Understanding how older adults are geographically connected to their family members is also crucial due to the increasing demand for care in aging societies across Europe. Many studies have examined the proximity of older parents to their adult children. However, there has been surprisingly little research on the distance between older adults and other family members, such as siblings.

A recent article examined the relationship between having at least one sibling living nearby, using data from the Swedish registers, which included information from 987,486 individuals aged 65-84 belonging to 475,644 family groups.

Results suggest that living close to a sibling is more common for older adults who lack other close family members. This particular group of older adults typically experiences a lower level of support in their later years. We assume that siblings nearby can be particularly important in providing much-needed support and companionship for these individuals.

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“Science leak” article on the website of Family Federation of Finland: Who lives close to siblings in later life?

Artamonova, A. & Gillespie, B. J. (2023). Geographic proximity to siblings in older adulthood. Demographic Research. Vol 49.