A new census report reveals that there is a growing number of childless older adults. The term for older adults who do not have kids and those aging alone for other reasons is solo aging. Though this trend is not exactly new, prior research has been unable to provide meaningful implications for the health and well-being of those who are aging solo. As the trend becomes more common among baby boomers, there is also more research being devoted to it.
According to the report, among adults 85 and better, 10.9% reported being childless; but of those 55-64 and better, 19.6% reported being childless. To better understand why solo aging has implications for older adults and society, we first must understand how solo aging manifests. Older adults in general are living longer due to medical science, better knowledge of nutrition, and just healthier lifestyles. At the same time, starting the late 1960s, there has emerged a resistance to traditional roles for women that led to higher rates of childless couples. This means that those who are aging solo may not have any family caregiver (i.e., kids) to take care of them as they age. Researchers say that this trend is the biggest repercussion to aging solo. And it leads to the conclusion that more older adults will need a caregiver who will have to come from outside the family unit. Solo aging, which can also mean living alone, brings the following numbers: about 22.1 million adults 55 and older reported living alone, among whom 6.1 million were childless, which means that 27.7% of older adults living alone were childless.
Researchers are still on the hunt to predict and understand what the results of this trend will bring. Census researchers and National Institute on Aging researchers are coming together to produce groundbreaking reports on the solo aging trend.
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Geber SZ. New Census Report Reveals Growing Number Of Childless Older Adults. Forbes.com.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarazeffgeber/2021/09/28/new-census-report-reveals-growing-number-of-childless-older-adults/?sh=3226fb4f3a91 . September 28,2021. Accessed November 8, 2021.