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New Survey Finds Why Having a Daughter is a Better Financial and Emotional Investment for Parents Than a Son

Today’s news bolsters the growing evidence that women are increasingly more financially independent, finding that they’re 32 percent less likely than men to need their parents’ financial support. The survey was conducted by Harris Poll in May 2014 among 2,046 U.S. adults ages 18 and older and commissioned by Yodlee Interactive, whose APIs power financial innovation outside of banks. With Father’s Day approaching, this report highlights another reason dads can be thankful they have a daughter.

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Summary of key statistics:

  • Only 31 percent of women with living parents/in-laws receive financial support from them, compared to 41 percent of men
  • Women (25 percent) are less likely than men (32 percent) to live with their parents/in-laws, based on all U.S. adults with living parents/in-laws
  • Almost twice as many men (20 percent) say they do not plan to support their parents emotionally (e.g., calling them, visiting them) as do women (12 percent), based on all applicable responses

The joys of having a son get better with age. Here are some deeper dive results on how middle-aged sons (ages 35-44), who have living parents/in-laws, in particular stack up to their female counterparts of the same age range:

  • They are more than twice as likely as females ages 35-44 to receive financial support from their parents, based on all U.S. adults with living parents/in-laws
  • They are more than three times as likely as their female counterparts to live at home with their parents
  • They are also almost twice as likely to cite being unemployed or underemployed as the reason they live with their parents, while women ages 35-44 are more than twice as likely to cite because they’re taking care of their parents

“Many people think that once you become an adult, you become financially self-sufficient,” said Joe Polverari, General Manager of Yodlee Interactive. “This survey shows that this isn’t always the case, as dependence on parents’ financial help varies greatly among American adults. These results stress the need for more communication and education around financial independence, because ultimately if this learning doesn’t start at home, it may result in a child never leaving home.”

Daughters Are More Financially Self-Sufficient

Daughters are more financially stable than sons. Only a quarter (25 percent) of the women surveyed live with their parents/in-laws, compared to almost a third (32 percent) of adult males.

Surprisingly, this differentiation is magnified for adults between the ages of 35-44. Within this range, women are half as likely to need any sort of financial support from their parents/in-laws, and even less likely to need them to house them as compared to men. And even further distinguishing these gender groupings, those daughters living with their parents are more likely doing so to take care of them, whereas sons need the financial support because they’re unemployed or underemployed.

Daughters Will Provide More Emotional Support

It doesn’t stop there. Fathers and mothers can take comfort knowing that their daughters are more likely to provide them with emotional support as they get older. The survey found that, out of applicable respondent, sons are almost twice (20 percent) as likely as daughters (12 percent) to say they don’t plan on providing their parents/in-laws emotional support in the form of calling or visiting them.

Other findings explained:

Financial Dependence Geographically

Adults (ages 18 or older) living in the South are more likely to be living at home with their parents than any other region. Over a third (34 percent) of all adults living in the South with living parents/in-laws still live with them, compared to 30 percent on the West Coast, 24 percent in the Northeast, and 23 percent in the Midwest.

In-Laws Are Out of Luck

Regardless of gender, in-laws should not expect to be treated equally as birth parents in terms of any type of support. The survey found adults are half as likely to support their parents-in-law, both financially and emotionally, as they are to support their own parents.

Americans’ attitudes, among respondents with parents/in-laws, around supporting parents versus in-laws are shown below:

  • 77 percent of adults said they would provide their parents with emotional support as they age, while only 36 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 45 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by subsidizing their medical bills, while only 17 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 53 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by subsidizing their living costs, while only 22 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 50 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by having them move closer, while only 21 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 46 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by having them move in, while only 19 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 48 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by moving closer to them, while only 17 percent said the same of in-laws
  • 45 percent of adults said they would support their parents as they age by paying for them to live at a medical/nursing home or having a live-in nurse, while only 19 percent said the same of in-laws

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Yodlee from May 8-12, 2014 among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected].

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About Yodlee Interactive

Yodlee is a leading technology and applications platform powering dynamic, cloud-based innovation for digital financial services. Yodlee Interactive makes the Yodlee Platform available to digital services companies and developers via open and secure data APIs, to build next-generation financial apps and services. Today more than 300 companies, large and small, are powered by Yodlee Interactive APIs, accelerating FinDat innovation globally.

Yodlee and Yodlee Interactive are headquartered in Redwood City, California. For more information, visit

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