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Multi-generational Households: Financial and Emotional Building Blocks Essay

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The Sandwich Generation refers to middle –aged adult children, usually between the ages of 35 and 59, who find themselves taking care of their elderly parents along with their own adolescent children, often under the same roof. Multiple generations living under one roof is a common occurrence in other countries such as South Africa and India; it is only recently that it has been re-introduced as common in the United States. Factors such as today’s economic state, home foreclosures, the declining job market, single parent households and the increase in life expectancy are a few key factors that have contributed to the rise in multi-generational households in the United States. Why have these types of living arrangements become some popular? Multi-generational households are often formed for financial reasons but in turn provide for a stronger, mutually beneficial relationship between generations.
The Development of the Sandwich Generation
One of the fastest growing groups in in the United States is known as the Sandwich Generation. The “sandwich generation” name was first heard in 1981 when social worker Dorothy Miller developed the phrase to describe middle aged adults who were caring for aged relatives, while still looking after adolescent children (Steelman, 2014). In the last century (1900-2000), the expected life span of a person residing in the United States increased from 47 to 76 years. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to more than 70 million. This increase in the elderly population has placed a strain on the government systems of Medicare for healthcare and Social Security for living expenses. High costs along with the decline in the job mark...


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...ent-Adult Child Coresidence." Michigan Sociological Review 25 (2011): 70,111,137. ProQuest Central. Web. March 13, 2014.
Steelman, Ben. "'Sandwich Generation' Struggles with Kids, Aging Parents." Star - News:
Ingersoll-Dayton, Berit, Margaret B. Neal, and Leslie B. Hammer. "Aging Parents Helping Adult Children: The Experience of the Sandwiched Generation." Family Relations 50.3 (2001): 262-71. ProQuest Central. Web. March 12, 2014
Boland Hamill, Sharon. "Parent-Adolescent Communication in Sandwich Generation Families." Journal of Adolescent Research 9.4 (1994): 458-482. Sage. Web. March 11, 2014.
"Sandwich Generation." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. Gale, 2003. Web. March 14, 2014.
Kochhar, Rakesh and Cohn, D’Vera, “Fighting Poverty in a Bad Economy, Americans Move in with Relatives” Pew Research Center 2011. Web. March 31, 2014




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