Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends


Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends

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Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends

The report was produced by Pew Research Center with the primary intention of understanding inter-generational relations in three countries; Italy, Germany and the United States. These countries are experiencing rapid aging. A study was undertaken in the three countries which are the grayest of the west’s progressive economies to reconnoiter the means by which people are dealing with the age groups as they undergo through a significant demographic shift. However, as in any other comparative study, both differences and similarities were identified in the manner which family support relations were carried out among the three countries.

Firstly, the difference is notable when you compare several aspects respective of the three countries in the study.  For instance, Italy and Germany have the oldest populations in the world, a fifth of their population in each of the three countries is aged 65 years or older. The United States is expected to hit this number of aged people in 2050. Also, a higher number of adults in Italy and Germany were reported to providing help with basic tasks to the aging parents as compared to the United States where the number was determined to be lower. Furthermore, the number of those offering personal care is highest in Italy. More interestingly, in both Italy and Germany, fewer adults have delivered financial assistance to their aging parents as compared to the United States where this number is relatively higher. Imperatively, the three countries are distinctly distinguished by their cultural and political factors. Most individuals in Germany and Italy than in the United States hold the thought that the government ought to bear the greatest responsibility regarding aged people’s economic wellbeing. On the contrary, the majority of individuals in the U.S. think that either the families or the individuals themselves ought to ensure the well-being of the aging. (Parker, Kim; Horowitz, Juliana Menasce;, 2015)

Common in all the three countries is the growing burden to parents of supporting adult children. Also, most of the parents are helping the aging parents with their basic tasks as well as assisting adult children with undertaking housework, errands, childcare and daily routine. In the three countries, the increasing number of older adults and declining number of younger active contributors has made it cumbersome for the social security systems to fund pensioners.

According to a survey carried out by National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) (2011), many communities in the USA had programs to address the needs of the senior citizens. Only a few had undertaken a comprehensive assessment to cater for the diverse population of the aging individuals above 65 years. Due to adverse economic challenges related to the great recession, it occurs that communities have not been able to advance programs and policies that were already established. Consequently, the United States have not been in a position to move forward to a level where it can address the nation’s current situation of increasing aging population. However, it appears that most of the communities are putting effort towards maintaining the status quo to avert a crisis. (Wiener & Tilly, 2002)

In summary, the mounting populace of older persons in the United States, Germany, and Italy is face to face with the task of caring for senior aged parents at the same time supporting adult children. More importantly, there are widespread concerns about future of social security. The growing number of aging adults as well as the dwindling size of the working contributors has been to challenges in funding of pension programs for the retirees. If the government reimbursements are minimized or unavailable, it is imminent that pensioners will have to depend on their personal investments. The research also established that most individuals perceive offering assistance to an aging parent as a responsibility. As a result, most of the family members are providing less money and more time help their elderly parents. (Parker, Kim; Horowitz, Juliana Menasce;, 2015)


National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a); MetLife Foundation. (2011). The Maturing of America – Communities Moving Forward for an Aging Population. Washington DC: National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a).

Parker, Kim; Horowitz, Juliana Menasce;. (2015, May 21). Family Support in Graying Societies. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from Pew Research Center:

Wiener, J. M., & Tilly, J. (2002). Population ageing in the United States of America: implications for public programmes. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31(4), 776-781. doi:10.1093/ije/31.4.776


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