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The Demography Of Grandparenthood, Socio-structural Changes Affecting Grandparenthood, Grandparent/grandchild Relationships, Diversity In Grandparenthood

Grandparenthood is a significant status in the life of many older adults; more than three-fourths of all people aged sixty-five and older are grandparents. It is a kinship status, and, as such, is dependent on the structure and norms of the kinship system. The contours of the grandparental role have changed dramatically over the last century due to demographic and socio-structural factors, and diversity in grandparent/grandchild (or cross-generational) relationships has become the rule rather than the exception. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, perhaps the most significant single fact gleaned from decades of research about grandparenthood is the heterogeneity of the grandparental experience.

Three generations of an East Indian family in Pomona, California. The grandfather (left) and grandmother (right, in traditional clothing) are pictured with their son and granddaughter. In many non-North American cultures, grandparents play an extrememly important role in the family structure. (Corbis photo by Joseph Sohm.)

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2