The Changing Health of Canadian Grandparents

Keywords: Grandparents, Grandchildren, Population aging, Intergenerational transfers, Caregiving, Health


Fertility postponement and mortality decline are shifting the demography of the grandparent population in Canada. The ways in which the aging of the grandparent population affects families depends in large part on the health of grandparents. In this article, we document the aging of Canadian grandparents between 1985 and 2011. However, despite being older, grandparents are healthier, signaling that the compression of morbidity is outpacing the postponement of grandparenthood. This shift is partly due to the higher educational attainment of this population and partly due to secular improvements in health over time. The improved health of grandparents in Canada has important implications for intergenerational transfers and relationships.

Author Biography

Rachel Margolis, University of Western Ontario
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology