Parents, Patriarchy, and Decision-Making Power: A Study of Gender Relations as Reflected by Co-residence Patterns of Older Parents in the Immigrant Household

Lang Lin, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

This dissertation has been moved to the following series:


This dissertation focuses on the living arrangements of multi-generational households among ten biggest immigrant groups in the United States. Specifically, it examines whether the husband's or the wife's older parents were more likely to be present. Co-residence patterns were taken as a proxy that reflected relative decision-making power in the family. A number of factors hypothesized to be associated with the outcome were examined to explore the effect of immigration on gender role ideology and gender relations in the post-1965 immigrant family. More than 102,000 multi-generational households from the 2000 U.S. Census were included in the analyses. Results suggested that while there were positive signs for women's increasing status and relative decision-making power, the influence of original sending culture where immigrants have come from proved to be strong and persistent. Those from more patriarchal sending cultures, represented by India, Korea, and China, were more likely to have the husband's parents co-residing; while those from less patriarchal sending cultures, represented by Jamaica, Cuba, and El Salvador, were more likely to have the wife's parents present in the household. These findings illustrate the complex nature of gender relations in the immigrant family whereby the effect of assimilation is found in some domains, while the influence of sending culture is enduring or even reinforced in other domains. Results of this research contribute to the better understanding of the diversity of changes in gender relations that accompany immigration.