Census: Poverty, race play role in whether parents are alive

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — As Mother’s Day approaches this Sunday, a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that the likelihood of having your parents alive as you grow older is linked to poverty, educational attainment, sex and race.

The working paper presented at a conference in March says that fathers tend to die before mothers, and those at the lower end of educational attainment, as well as those experiencing higher rates of poverty, are more likely to have a deceased parent in their younger years than others.

Blacks tend to experience a parental death earlier in life than people in other racial groups or ethnic backgrounds, according to the study based on the Census’ Survey of Income and Program Participation, an annual survey of 30,000 households that asked about parental mortality in 2014 for the first time.

The loss of a parent can have a profound effect on an adult child since parents often financially support or transfer wealth to their children and provide childcare to working parents, according to the Census study.

Additionally, other studies have shown that the loss of a parent in adulthood can lead to psychological distress and alcohol consumption, as well as an overall decline in physical health, the Census study said.

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“Ostensibly, individuals with lower income, lower educational attainment and those from communities that experience lower life expectancy would benefit most from parental support,” the study said. “However, our findings indicate that these same groups are the ones that experience parental loss earlier in life, along with the psychological and material consequences that often accompany such an event.”

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