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Middle-Aged Breadwinners Become Part Of The 'Sandwich Generation'

Wed, January 30, 2013 11:40pm

Story by Brian De Los Santos


If you're the economic pillar for both your kids and your parents, you're not alone.

One-in-seven adults financially support both their parents and their kids at the same time, according to a Pew Research study released Wednesday.

What's the main reason behind this? Researchers say grown children who are "struggling to achieve financial independence" have become part of their parent's financial responsibility. The study cites the Great Recession and low employment figures as factors for young adults' unsuccessful job retainment. (A 2012 study noted youths were often underemployed, still living at home and had it harder than their parents.)

The "sandwich generation," as the study calls the breadwinners, is mostly composed of middle-aged adults reaching into their pockets to help out a parent, 65 or older, while they support a dependent child.

Hispanics are more likely than blacks and whites to be part of this demographic. The study notes 21 percent of Latinos are providing assistance to a parent and supporting a child. That's compared to 8 percent of blacks and 5 percent of whites.

The figure for the growing trend bumped up 2 percentage points from 2005, for a total of 15 percent.

(Brian De Los Santos is an intern on NPR's Digital News unit.)

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