Gender Differences in Multigenerational Caregiving Across the Life Course in Europe

Contributors:
  1. Rachel Margolis

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Description: To better understand how caregiving varies across contexts and the impact of caregiving on social and economic outcomes, we need to understand how it varies across the entire adult life course and how sensitive caregiving estimates are to the inclusion of different directions and types of care. This is the first study to comprehensively describe multigenerational caregiving patterns by gender and age across European countries. We use the Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) Wave 1 (N=114,147) to consider multiple definitions of multigenerational caregiving. In addition to personal care and financial transfers, we also include emotional transfers which are rarely examined. We also examine multigenerational care that includes simultaneous care for any two generations rather than just to parents and children which is most often studied. Across our sample of 11 European countries, we find that women are significantly more likely to give care than men across the life course, and these gender gaps are especially large during critical periods like young adulthood and mid-life around retirement ages. Including emotional caregiving as well as horizontal care (to a spouse, sibling, or friend) are both substantively important in shaping the life course pattern of caregiving and the size of the gender gap. The gender gap in the life course pattern of caregiving have implications for aging, intergenerational inequality, and human capital accumulation across the life course.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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