Elderly Living Arrangements in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, and Romania

De Vos, Susan, and Gary Sandefur
Working paper no. 1999-14


This paper examines the living arrangements of elderly people in five European countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland and Romania. The paper discusses institutionalization, “headship” rates, “relationship to reference person,” a general household composition scheme for elders, and solitary living. The living arrangements of elders in Finland in 1990 appeared similar to that of other Northern European countries; the situation in the Czech Republic appeared somewhat intermediate between Northern and Southeastern Europe; and the situations in Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania appeared more “traditional.” For instance, 42 percent of currently unmarried elders in Bulgaria in 1992 resided with a child compared with 21 percent in the Czech Republic and only 12 percent in Finland. On the other hand, married elderly in all the countries tended to live by themselves (more so again in Finland and the Czech Republic) and few elders in any country lived with other relatives.