Consequences Of Increased Life Expectancy
The enormous reduction in mortality in the course of the twentieth century has had massive repercussions on family life: The survival of all newborn children is practically guaranteed; the smaller number of children reduces drastically the life phase dominated by childcare; and despite the rising divorce rate, more couples than ever remain married for many years. Furthermore, Austrians now may well live for thirty or so years in a three- or even four-generation family.
This development has sparked a debate on the effects of these longstanding multigenerational constellations, such as money transfers and assistance patterns (Rosenmayr 1999). For instance, the popular belief is that many women between forty and sixty are caught between competing responsibilities for children and grandchildren and their aging parents (sandwich generation). Empirically, however, only about one-fourth of middle-aged women are actually in this situation (Hörl and Kytir 1998).