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Joint Lifetime of Family Generations

Content and Objective

In an increasing number of scientific discussions and publications we meet the view that in a "society of longevity" the shares of families with four generations will increase and shape the picture of the future. However, with due regard to the average child-bearing age of mothers, which has been increasing for years, we assume that that hypothesis does not remain valid.

This project tackles the question of how, on the one hand, the high life expectancy and, on the other, the increasing age of mothers at childbirth will impact the joint lifetime of three and four generations and will develop in future. To this end, indicators are derived from the official data on mortality and fertility for the mean joint lifetimes of three- and four-generation families. Because of the complicated data available, the investigation will be restricted to the female succession of generations, and here to an observation of the first-born child in each case. The indicators act as model calculations, which is why they serve above all to indicate (future) developments in mean joint lifetimes. The indicators are calculated for the average jointly-spent lifetime of three-generation families for the period from 1990 to 2060, and of four-generation families for the period from 2010 to 2060.

Because of the insights on the future development of the potentials for intergenerational support this research project is relevant for policy advice.


Grünheid, Evelyn; Scharein, Manfred G. (2011): On Developments in the Mean Joint Lifetimes of Three- and Four-Generation Families in Western and Eastern Germany. A Model Calculation. In: Comparative Population Studies – Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft 36,1: 41-76

Grünheid, Evelyn; Scharein, Manfred G. (2011): Wächst die gemeinsame Zeit des Zusammenlebens von (Ur-)Enkeln und (Ur-)Großeltern? Eine Modellrechnung. In: Bevölkerungsforschung Aktuell 32,1: 2-6

Additional Information


Dr. Evelyn Grünheid

Phone: +49 611 75 2727
Fax: +49 611 75 3960

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