This came up when discussing the 'Pflegereform' in Germany. Everyone has to pay a proportion of their income and this tax is used to help pay for the cost of retirement homes for old people. The percentage of income you have to pay is slightly higher for people without children.

Usually this is justified by saying that people with children raise the next generation of people to pay for this but another argument is that children take care of their parents so the need or usage of retirement homes is smaller. I want to know whether the latter is true (in a statistical average sense).

  • Are you asking about Germany specifically? This is certainly going to vary from country to country based on the cultural expectations for children taking care of their parents.
    – divibisan
    Jun 14, 2021 at 14:18
  • Plus, note that there may also be a difference in life expectancy for childless people vs. people with children, so a different time spent in retirement homes may be a different (or similar) proportion of overall lifetime.
    – Hulk
    Jun 14, 2021 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


Do people without children spend longer time in retirement homes?

In Childless Elders in Assisted Living: Findings from the Maryland Assisted Living Study, which compared assisted living residents being childless and with children.

There was no significant difference between groups in total length of stay.

However, while this may be an answer to the question, there may be a difference between the usage of "retirement home" and "assisted living" in Germany and the US. In the US, the average age for entering assisted living is about 85 years and the next step from assisted living is "skilled nursing facility."

  • 1
    If retirement homes are free (ignoring the tax that was paid earlier in life) in Germany, there's probably a significant difference in their use in Germany than the US.
    – Barmar
    Jun 14, 2021 at 19:02
  • @Barmar They are nowhere close to free, it still costs several thousand euros per month to live in one after the contribution from insurance is deducted. German data would be even better but I think the difference is probably not that big.
    – quarague
    Jun 15, 2021 at 8:02

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