Living Alone Among Older Adults in Canada and the U.S.




Lee, Sharon M.
Edmonston, Barry

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Increasing proportions of people, including older adults, live alone. Studying living arrangements of the elderly is important because these affect and reflect general well-being of the elderly and inform communities’ response to elderly housing needs. We analyze data from the 2006 Canadian Census and the 2006 American Community Survey to examine living alone among non-married older adults aged 55 and older in Canada and the U.S. The paper has two parts. First, we compare native- and foreign-born elderly to see if immigrants are less likely to live alone. Second, we examine factors associated with living alone among older immigrants. While older immigrants in both countries are less likely to live alone, the large differences are substantially reduced once various explanatory variables are considered. Comparisons of four gender/country groups of older immigrants show the positive role of economic and acculturation factors on living alone among older immigrants. With few exceptions, predictors of living alone are similar for older immigrants in Canada and the U.S.: living alone is mainly explained by a combination of economic and acculturation factors, taking demographic variables into account. Findings underline the need for age-friendly housing with innovative design and technology that can accommodate older people who live alone, including older immigrants who may have different needs and cultural preferences.



living alone, older adults, older immigrants, Canada, U.S., older age-friendly housing


Lee, S.M. & Edmonston, B. (2019). Living Alone Among Older Adults in Canada and the U.S. HealthCare, 7(2), 68.