Online Seminar Talk

The Sandwich Generation: A Family Recipe

Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography
Online Seminar Talk via Zoom, June 09, 2020

MPIDR research scientist Diego Alburez-Gutierrez gave an Online Seminar Talk about the sandwich generation.


We evaluate the consequences of demographic change for care needs of families. We estimate trends in the prevalence of the so-called `sandwich generation', individuals with simultaneous care responsibilities towards young children and aging relatives, for all countries of the world using demographic methods and microsimulation calibrated with data from the UN WPP 2019 Revision. Longer and healthier life implies that the parents of people at childbearing age are less likely to be in need of support. Conversely, later childbearing increases generational length and implies that grandparents of young children are older and more likely to have transitioned from being sources of support to being in need of care themselves. Reduced fertility generally decreases the number of years that people potentially spend looking after young children. Our results from microsimulation indicate that UN-projected demographic rates imply a global downward trend in simultaneous responsibilities of parents towards younger and older generations. Conversely, grandparents are expected to be increasingly squeezed between caring for their parents and  their young grandchildren. In the Global South, we expect a rise in the overlap of people with their grandparents. The Global North might have reached a peak in the potential overlap with grandparents, which is projected to decrease over the next decades as a result of the expected increases in the mean age at childbearing. The results are relevant to the study of intergenerational relationships and contribute to the literature about demographic change and family roles.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.