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Adulthood - Conclusion

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The beginning of the twenty-first century will mean continued heterogeneity in the timing and sequencing of adult life course transitions. There are also reasons to believe that multigenerational bonds will be more important in the upcoming decades. First, the demographic changes of the aging population mean more years of shared living between generations. The impacts of this demographic shift will be particularly profound in developing countries. More than half (59%) of the world's elderly people now live in the developing nations and this proportion is expected to increase to 71 percent by 2030 (U.S. Census Bureau 2002b). Second, we have witnessed a growing importance in the roles of grandparents and other kin in supporting family functioning and well being. Middle-aged and older adults worldwide are increasingly parenting grandchildren and other young kin in families devastated by social problems such as substance abuse, the HIV/AIDs epidemic, civil war, forced migration, and poverty. Finally, despite popular rhetoric in a number of developed nations that the "nuclear family is in decline," research has consistently demonstrated the strength and resilience of family members' bonds across the generations.

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Other Resources

U.S. Census Bureau. (2000a). "Population Projections of the United States by Age, Sex, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Nativity: 1999 to 2000." Available from www.census.gov/population/www/projections/natproj.html.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2000b). "International Database." Available from www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbnew.html.

JUDITH G. GONYEA

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