The Older Sandwich Generation Across European Welfare Regimes: Demographic and Social Considerations

Marco Albertini, Aviad Tur-Sinai, Noah Lewin-Epstein, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The lengthening of the amount of time adult children depend on their parents’ support and rising longevity have pushed scholars to devote increasing attention to the phenomenon of older sandwich family generations. This brief report develops a descriptive portrait of the prevalence of being demographically and socially sandwiched in the population aged 50 or more years, in Europe. It is shown that the prevalence of social sandwiching is highly sensitive to the types of support utilized to operationalize the concept; also, differences between welfare and transfer regimes are significantly affected by different operationalizations. Next, the analyses highlight the dynamic nature of social sandwiching over the adult life cycle, and show that demographic events and the changing needs of older parents are the main drivers of moving in/out the status of socially sandwiched. Support to adult children is ubiquitous in all European societies. Among the pivot generation family solidarity prevails over competition, but children enjoy a strategic advantage when older parents are in good health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-300
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Journal of Population
Volume38
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Family solidarity
  • Intergenerational support
  • Population aging
  • SHARE
  • Sandwich generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

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