The 'Sandwich Generation' Revisited: Global Demographic Drivers of the Demand of Care-Time
Diego Alburez-Gutierrez1, Carl Mason2, Emilio Zagheni1
1Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 2University of California, Berkeley

In all societies, the human life cycle is characterized by stages of dependency and periods of net production that lead to inter-generational transfers of resources. We present the first global estimates of ‘sandwichness’, the situation of simultaneously having frail older parents and dependent young children or grandchildren, for the 1970-2040 cohorts using demographic methods and microsimulations calibrated with data from the 2019 United Nations World Population Prospects. We find that sandwichness is more prevalent in the Global South - people born in 1970 Sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to be `sandwiched' than Europeans - but it is expected to decline globally by one third between 1970 and 2040. The Global North might have reached a peak in the simultaneous demands on care-time from multiple generations. Nevertheless, grandparents in the Global South will increasingly spend more time sandwiched between parents and grandchildren, potentially increasing their involvement in care responsibilities.