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Grandparenting Practices around the World$
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Virpi Timonen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447340645

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447340645.001.0001

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Conclusions: the grandparents’ century?

Conclusions: the grandparents’ century?

(p.271) Fourteen Conclusions: the grandparents’ century?
Grandparenting Practices around the World

Virpi Timonen

Policy Press

This chapter contains reflections on the notion that the 21st century could be called the ‘grandparents’ century’. This is a reference to the prediction that, by the middle of this century, there will be relatively more ‘old’ people than children in the global population. As the majority of older adults are grandparents, the global population in the 21st century is characterised by the presence of unprecedented numbers of grandparents. Grandparents will be increasingly old, and many of them will enjoy good health. In some cases, they might even compete over the opportunity to spend time with and care for one or two grandchildren. Higher proportions of the younger grandparents will be working, if the plans to extend working lives succeed, but they will share such long spans of life with their grandchildren that they might have a better opportunity to bond when the latter are teenagers or young adults. Grandparents, rather than parents, might become important sources of direct material transfers to their grandchildren. Whether and when people become grandparents, and how this varies across contexts, and across cohorts, is set to define a new type of inequality – in access to, or inability to enter, the grandparent role.

Keywords:   Grandparenthood, Demography, Economic development, Intergenerational transfers, Gender

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