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Boomers' Duties to Parents and Children Linger

During the 1960s, many baby boomers spurned convention and the obligations that hemmed in their parents. But as the first baby boomers start turning 60 in January, a new study finds that many in the generation born between 1946 and 1964 have lingering responsibilities to both their parents and children.

One reason is that boomer women were twice as likely as their mothers to put off having kids until after age 30, so many boomer parents are still caring for children under 18.

But according to Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center, which carried out the study, boomers with older children aren't exactly out of the woods, either. He says two-thirds of those with kids 18 or older are still providing financial support, either partially or in full, to their adult offspring.

In addition to nurturing children, many of America's 75 million boomers are also taking care of parents. More than 70 percent have at least one living parent. Twenty-nine percent of these boomers reported providing some financial help to parents in the past year. The researchers say caring for aging parents takes a toll.

"The burden of having an elderly parent who needs help just to get on with daily life does result in some diminishment of satisfaction with family life," says Pew's Taylor. Just 61 percent of boomers with an elderly parent in these circumstances say they are very satisfied with family life, compared to 75 percent of adults who have parents still capable of caring for themselves.

Still, overall the survey found that nearly nine out of 10 baby boomers say they are either very or somewhat satisfied with their family life.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Kathleen Schalch
Kathleen Schalch is a general assignment reporter on NPR's national desk. Her coverage can be heard on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.
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