Inequalities in aging and the implications for younger generations

November 7th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Social Sciences

As the over-65 population grows to about one in five Americans, it is important to recognize that older persons are not a homogeneous bloc of "seniors." A new report from the US2010 Project emphasizes that seniors are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of their schooling, employment status, income, gender, race/ethnicity, place of birth and age.

All of these factors affect older ' ability to provide a safety net to the younger generation, as well as their need to rely on the family safety net themselves.

"Diversity among the elderly is not simply variation—separate but equal—but rather variation that results in inequalities," said report co-author Judith Seltzer, director of the California Center for Population Research at UCLA and a professor of sociology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "And these inequalities have implications for the social and well-being of each generation."

The longevity of today's offers greater opportunities for meaningful interactions with children and grandchildren. In recent years, as they have made significant gains in their own economic well-being, older adults' financial help and caregiving has been important in helping their adult children and grandchildren get launched and weather economic crises.

Yet the strength of these ties has been tested by changes in the structure and composition of families caused by high rates of cohabitation, child-bearing outside of marriage and divorce. And the rates of disruption are higher for poorer families, so older parents with the fewest resources to share are most likely to be called on for help.

Key points:

More information: www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Data/R… t/report11062013.pdf

Provided by University of California, Los Angeles

"Inequalities in aging and the implications for younger generations." November 7th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-11-inequalities-aging-implications-younger.html