Parent-Child Coresidence and Quasi-Coresidence in Penisular Malaysia

by Ronald D. Fricker, Julie DaVanzo

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This paper reports the findings from focus group discussions and ethnographic interviews that were conducted in 1996 in Malay, Chinese and Indian communities in Peninsular Malaysia. Whereas a common perception in the literature is that formal parent-child coresidence remains the ideal, many urban participants of all ethnic groups felt that quasi-coresidence--parents and their adult children living nearby and assisting each other but not actually coresiding--was a desirable arrangement, but there were different degrees of emphasis and different motivations, depending on the traditional pressure on coresidence and experience with urban living. Multiple forces are shaping decisions regarding intergenerational living arrangements, including religion, traditional ideals regarding post-marital residence, labor market opportunities and women's participation in urban employment, availability and cost of housing, needs for childcare, people's experience with rural and urban living, and the health status and socioeconomic status of the elderly.

Originally published in: Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, v. 27, no. 2, 1999, pp. 43-63.

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