Inter-generational solidarity

Inter-generational solidarity

INED has a long tradition of analysis of changing family relations over the life cycle. Since the 1960s, numerous studies have shown that "household autonomy was not accompanied by a break in family ties" but signified "distant closeness". The studies highlighted the importance of exchange within the extended family, especially between elderly people and their children, whether these ties are assessed in terms of visits, favours given or received or emotional closeness. Alternatively providing and needing support, elderly people are central in the solidarity chain. All the studies show that family solidarity is based on reciprocity, with the balance of exchanges reversing as age increases: young retirees are usually helpers more than helped but, as they grow older, they more often become recipients of support.

Current projects at INED take the viewpoint of children and grandparents, cover all family relations or address specific aspects of mutual support.

The baby-boomers and family solidarity

C Bonvalet

This project attempts to analyse how the post-war birth cohorts have been the agents of family transformation. The results of the research show that the baby-boomers have not left their original families. They have brought about a "quiet revolution", establishing a new relationship with their parents by forcing them to accept the end of various moral rules that governed the family, to accept - sometimes not without difficulty - other ways of being in a union than marriage, and other ways of being parents outside the nuclear family. Now the baby-boomers are confronted with a new situation: their parents were among the first cohorts to benefit massively from the increase in life expectancy in the past 50 years, in particular from life expectancy gains at advanced ages, while their children are bearing the brunt of economic crisis, unstable employment and difficulty accessing housing. The baby-boomers, who set out to discover the world without constraints and sometimes without a family are experiencing a boomerang effect as they enter the third age. The "grey boomers", as they are now, find themselves subjected to a paradoxical double injunction: to be active, mobile seniors, with new residential, emotional and cultural plans and at the same time play their role as the pivotal generation.

Children’s family ties

L Toulemon, A Regnier Loilier

After the separation of their parents, some children divide their time between their parents according to highly variable modalities. Primary custody is usually awarded to the mother. The ERFI survey (rounds 1 and 2) collected various kinds of information about the ascendants of the surveyed parent, with a detailed description of their role in the day-to-day life of their child’s family. We will attempt to verify how the proximity and availability of family support facilitate the family/work balance of parents. Furthermore, the data from the second and third rounds of the ERFI survey will offer a dynamic view of the children’s extended family environment, including siblings, parents and parents-in-law and grandparents. The data from the ELFE will shed additional light since the collection plans to survey the father and the mother of the children, whether they cohabit or not. We will therefore be able to study the effects of the presence and role of maternal and paternal grandparents in the children’s day-to-day lives. Lastly, as the child grows up, his/her family environment in the broad sense changes according to the parents’ marital history before or after their birth (with the appearance of half-siblings, quasi-siblings, step-parents and "step-grandparents"). For the first time, the Elfe survey will make it possible to reconstruct this extended family environment by studying the role played by relatives, biological or not.

Grandparents’ support for their children: who is helping whom?

J Gaymu, S Pennec

The aim of this project is to analyse the influence of grandparents’ socio-demographic characteristics on support for their daughters (or daughters-in-law) and, for the latter, the implications of that support for their family-work balance. In France today, half of people aged 56 and three-quarters of those aged 66 are grandparents. Parenthood can therefore occur at very different times in a career. Initially, the project will seek to determine "who helps whom". Do some occupational or individual characteristics of grandparents facilitate their involvement in minding their grandchildren? The same type of analysis will be conducted for daughters and daughters-in-law to identify those who benefit from their parents’ support to remain in the labour force. Furthermore, we know that family sociability is traditionally maintained by women. It is conceivable, however, that certain occupational status combinations of the grandparents (e.g. retired husband but still working wife) facilitate the participation of grandfathers. We will verify whether the determining factors in support are the same for grandmothers and grandfathers.

Some references

Bonvalet C., Ogg J., 2009, Les baby boomers : une génération mobile, Paris, Editions de l'Aube

Bourgeois A., Légaré J., 2009, « Comment la démographie façonne la population des grands-parents » in Régnier-Loilier A. Portraits de familles, Paris, Ined, Collections Grandes enquêtes, p. 453-470

Delbès C., Gaymu J., 2007. « Family solidarities at the beginning of retirement in France » , in Véron J., Pennec S., Légaré J. (ed), Age, generations and the Social contract, Springer, p. 231-258

Régnier-Loilier A., 2006, « A quelle fréquence voit-on ses parents ? », Population et Sociétés, n°427

Bonvalet C., Ogg J., 2006, Enquêtes sur l'entraide familiale en Europe. Bilan de 9 collectes, Coll. Méthodes et savoir, INED, 264 p

Bonvalet C., Lelievre E., 2005, « Relations familiales des personnes âgées », Retraite et Société, Les nouvelles données démographiques, n°45, pp.44-69

Tomassini C., Grundy E., Kalogirou S., Gaymu J., Binet A., Martikainen P., Karisto A., 2005, « Rencontres entre parents âgés et enfants : quelles différences en Europe ; les exemples de la Finlande, de la France et de l'Italie », Retraite et société, n°46, p. 9-27

Ogg, J. and Renaut, S. (2013) Ageing and intergenerational support: the role of life course events. In Börsch-Supan, Axel, Brandt, Martina, Litwin, Howard and Weber, Guglielmo (eds.) Active ageing and solidarity between generations in Europe : First results from SHARE after the economic crisis, De Gruyter, pp. 370-379

Ogg, J. and Renaut, S. (2012) Social inclusion of elders in families. In Scharf, T. and Keating, N. (eds) From Exclusion to Inclusion in Old Age: A Global Challenge. Bristol, The Policy Press

Ogg, J. et Renaut, S. (2012) « Le soutien familial en Europe : l'effet de la position générationnelle », dans Le Borgne-Uguen, F. et Rebourg, M. (dir.), L'entraide familiale sous contraintes : droit et sociologie, PUR, col. Le sens social