This study examines patterns of living arrangements among elderly persons of Chinese and Japanese origin in the United States. Based on 1980 U.S. Census data on 8,502 elderly persons, we draw on three theoretical frameworks—modernization, cultural specificity, and assimilation—to explore the effects of acculturation, economic feasibility, and demographic availability on elderly living arrangements. Our results show that patterns of elderly living arrangements vary among Chinese, Japanese, and non-Hispanic whites. Elderly Chinese and Japanese are more likely than their non-Hispanic white counterparts to live in extended family households, particularly in their ever-married children's homes. This pattern appears to hold even after the place of birth is controlled for and even when Chinese and Japanese are given attributes identical to those of non-Hispanic whites. We conclude that while the influence of immigrant culture is significantly reduced through acculturation, the effect of this influence is nonlinear and that the cultural effect on elderly living arrangements will persist longer than expected according to modernization and assimilation models.
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