Family Background

Family Background


Older Men

The Older Men surveys provide researchers with a variety of family background data, collecting information on parents and respondent's family background at age 14 or 15.

Parents. In the 1966 interview, each respondent was asked about the birth countries of his parents and grandparents; Table OM1 depicts the results. In addition, the respondent reported the life status of both his parents and his wife's parents in each personal interview except 1990.

Table OM1. Birth Countries of Older Men Respondents' Parents & Grandparents

Country Father Mother Maternal Grandfather Maternal Grandmother Paternal Grandfather Paternal Grandmother
US or Canada 3938 3969 3172 3220 3128 3197
N or W Europe1 367 319 381 343 402 342
C or E Europe2 311 299 33 35 25 22
S Europe3 229 208 10 11 13 11
Latin America4 29 34 5 4 6 3
Other 96 99 5 7 10 13
Not available 50 92 1414 1400 1436 1432
Note: This table is based on R00290.-R00295. in the 1966 interview.
1 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales.
2 Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, USSR, Yugoslavia.
3 Andorra, Azores, Gibraltar, Gozo, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Trieste, Vatican City, Europe--Country not specified.
4 Mexico, Central America, South America.

Respondent's background. The 1966 survey asked respondents where they were born and how long they had lived at their current residence. Of the 5,020 respondents interviewed, 267 (5.3 percent) were born outside the United States. The data also include a comparison of the respondent's birthplace and his residence at the 1966 interview date (e.g., same state; different state, same region; different region; born outside U.S.).

Information was also collected during the initial interview about the living arrangements of Older Men respondents when they were 15 years old, including with whom the respondent lived and whether the residence was in a large or small city or in the country. In addition, the survey collected the occupation and the highest grade completed of the head of the respondent's household.

If the respondent had lived with his mother when he was 15, the 1971 interview asked whether she worked for pay at that time. This survey also gathered information about whether a language other than English was spoken in the home when the respondent was 15 years old. If so, the language was recorded; in the data, this information is grouped as follows: Spanish; German, Dutch, Scandinavian (Swedish, Norwegian, etc.); French, Italian, Portuguese; Slavic; and other. Finally, in 1971 the respondent reported the state in which he last attended high school.

User Notes

The sampling design for the Original Cohorts produced a number of multiple respondent households. A significant number of Young Men have fathers in the Older Men cohort, mothers in the Mature Women cohort, and siblings in the Young Men and Young Women cohorts. These multiple respondent households provide a great deal of data about a respondent's parents and siblings in addition to that collected during the regular surveys. For more information, see the Screening and Household Composition sections.

Related Variables: In each survey, information is collected on all members of the respondent's household; see the Household Composition section for details. More information about the respondent's background is available in the Race, Ethnicity & Nationality section.

Survey Instruments: Information on parents, siblings, and the respondent's background can be found in the "Family Background" or "Marital History" sections of the questionnaires.