The Demography of Grandparenthood in Italy. Changes across Cohorts and Regions

Giorgio Di Gessa, King''s College
Bruno Arpino, Pompeu Fabra University
Valeria Bordone, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Background: Grandparents have always played an important role in society and in family life; however, little is known about the demography of grandparenthood despite dramatic global demographic changes that are likely to affect both the occurrence and timing of the transition to grandparenthood. Thus, we examined the prevalence and timing of grandparenthood in Italy for different cohorts and macro-regions.

Methods: Employing data from the 2009 Italian Survey on ‘Family and Social Relations’ (‘Famiglia, soggetti sociali e condizione dell’infanzia’) we used logistic and survival analysis methods to examine the prevalence and timing of grandparenthood. Our respondents were parents born between 1920 and 1949 (N=10,186), i.e. aged 60 and older at the time of the interview.

Results: Across all cohorts considered, Southern Italian parents were more likely to be grandparents and to have experienced a transition to grandparenthood by age 60 in comparison to those from the North. However, cohorts born in the 1940s were increasingly less likely to have become grandparents by the age of 60 compared to those born in the two decades before in all regions. Such postponement appears to be largely driven by family and educational compositional changes over time.

Conclusions: The prevalence and timing of the transition to grandparenthood vary considerably across Italian regions, the considered birth cohorts and educational levels.

Presented in Session 1130: Ageing and Intergenerational Relations