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AARP Multicultural Survey July 2001

Hispanic whites (16%). Although the proportion is small, nine percent of those who don’t live alone have grandchildren living with them, compared with four percent of whites.

  • Like others at the “sandwich” stage of life, the African Americans consider their children most often (70%) as their close family members.

  • African Americans are more likely to think of their own siblings (57%) as close family members than are members of other groups (44% on average).

  • Far fewer African Americans are married (46%), thus they are also less likely to include spouses (39%) in their definition of close family members than are others (59% on average).

  • Older African American baby boomers grew up in families composed like most others at the time: both parents and siblings, if any, lived together. Like Hispanics and Asian Americans, more African Americans grew up with older relatives in their household than did non-Hispanic whites. The household was also more likely to include grandparents (21%), aunts or uncles (12%), and cousins or other relatives (16%).

Anticipations and stress: African Americans of the sandwich generation report stress on relationships in proportions comparable to those of other ethnic or racial groups. Yet, African Americans appear to live with more possible anxiety- producing situations.

  • As African American members of the generation look forward, they are no more optimistic or pessimistic than other people about their financial outlook. They do, however, have lower incomes. Not surprisingly, then, when asked to volunteer what they are looking forward to during the next five years, African Americans are more likely to mention possible improvements in their own economic, housing, and job situation (47%). (The average is 40 percent mentioning such possibilities.)

  • We found the greatest incidence of the possible stress-inducing elements— particularly events such as an illness or death in the family—among African Americans and Hispanics. For example, African Americans are much more likely than others to have suffered the death of a family member within the last year (43%, compared with 28% among the general public). Such events are most common among older African American boomers who have low incomes and live in urban areas.

Prepared for AARP by Belden Russonello & Stewart and Research/Strategy/Management Page 83

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