Older Adults With Three Generations of Kin: Prevalence, Correlates, and Transfers.

TitleOlder Adults With Three Generations of Kin: Prevalence, Correlates, and Transfers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMargolis, R, Wright, L
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date Published2017 Oct 01
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAged, Black or African American, Family, Family Characteristics, Female, Hispanic or Latino, Humans, Intergenerational Relations, Male, Middle Aged, Resource Allocation, Social Support, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States, White People

OBJECTIVES: We document the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of older adults with three generations of living kin and examine the patterns of transfers among this group compared with those with fewer generations of kin available.

METHOD: We use the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2010) to estimate kin availability and intergenerational transfers among respondents in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

RESULTS: It is far more common for older adults to have aging parents, children, and grandchildren than to have just two generations of kin (parents and children). Forty percent of adults in their 50s, 30% of those in their 60s, and 7.5% of those in their 70s have three generations of kin available. Hispanics and the least educated are more likely to have this generational configuration. The vast majority provides financial or in-kind transfers to at least one generation, and a large minority provides support to both older and younger generations.

DISCUSSION: Although there has been much concern about the strains among those sandwiched between parents and children, it is far more common among older adults to also have grandchildren, and many of these adults are transferring resources both upward and downward to multiple generations.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Intergenerational exchange/Intergenerational support/Population aging/Sandwich generation

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Citation Key6516
PubMed ID26817631