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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

  • B.

    Profile of Families

    • 1.

      Older Boomers’ Views of Their Families

What makes up a family? We asked older baby boomers this very question and received a variety of responses. As table 2 indicates, members of the generation think first and foremost of close family as including children (75%), then spouses (59%), their own parents (53%) and siblings (44%). Much smaller proportions so regard grandchildren (10%), in-laws (12%), nieces and nephews (7%), aunts and uncles (7%) or cousins (5%).

African Americans are more apt (57%) to think of their own siblings as close family members than are members of other groups (average 44%). On the other hand, while most (59%) Americans include spouses as close family members, African Americans are less inclined (39%) to do so. This disparity may well stem from the smaller percentage of married African Americans.

Asian Americans are the most likely to mention their spouse (69%), and the least likely to mention children (65%) and grandchildren (2%).

Hispanics and whites are the most child-oriented; 74 percent and 77 percent, respectively, say children are part of their close family. Whites are the most likely to mention their own parents (55%).

Table 3 reports the responses by a variety of demographic characteristics. Interestingly, younger members of the sandwich generation are much more likely (60%, compared with 46% among older members) to include their own parents as close family members. This may be because boomers age 50-55 are more likely to say their parents are deceased (38% say neither parent is alive, compared to 21% of the 45-49 cohort).

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 14

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