New Report Finds Support Between Generations of Family Members Plays a Role in Overall Resiliency and Success

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A report from Generations United and the Alliance for Children and Families released today shows intergenerational connectedness within families plays an increasingly critical role in people’s resiliency and success.

A report from Generations United and the Alliance for Children and Families released today shows intergenerational connectedness within families plays an increasingly critical role in people’s resiliency and success.

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"Intergenerational Family Connections: The Relationships that Support a Strong America" summarizes the results of a March 2014 survey of more than 2,000 adults. The survey conducted online by Harris Poll asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 and over about important connectedness indicators including the provision of social and emotional support, exchange of time and money, and strength of bonds across the generations. Results included:

  •     61 percent of Americans with living parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, great-grandparents, or great-grandchildren reported giving extended family financial support for basic needs, e.g. housing, food, and transportation, amounting to an average of $3,800 annually
  •     41 percent contribute toward medical expenses of their extended family on an annual average of $1,100
  •     74 percent spend on average 12 hours a week providing their extended family members social/emotional support

“As people are living longer and healthier, we need to think beyond just strong bonds between parent and child and encourage valuable connections between extended family—grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren, and others,” says Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. “America’s families understand this notion, and are embracing their interdependence. Vast majorities of these Americans indicated they are strongly connected with living family members. ”

“The community-based organizations within the Alliance’s network have long shared anecdotal information about the support flowing between generations of family members,” explains Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance. “But we were struck by the degree to which the report showed family members helping each other financially to meet basic needs.”

Generations United and the Alliance teamed up this year to study intergenerational connectedness within families to help mark the United Nations’ 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. Details of the report will be discussed tomorrow (May 13) at 9:30 a.m. ET at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C. Tomorrow’s event will also feature a firsthand account from a family on how its intergenerational connectedness has strengthened its resilience. Additionally, a panel of national experts will discuss the report and recommendations.

"Intergenerational Family Connections: The Relationships that Support a Strong America" also shows:

-- Technology is helping families support each other and maintain connections. 72 percent say technology has had a positive effect on connectivity, while 56 percent of these Americans say they use it to stay connected.
-- Those who identified themselves as Hispanic in the survey were shown to be significantly more likely than non-Hispanics to contribute money and time to extended families, and at higher percentages.
-- Family connections are strong, with 85 percent agreeing their family members trust each other, 87 percent indicating they support one another, and 88 percent reporting they laugh together.

"Intergenerational Family Connections: The Relationships that Support a Strong America" advocates for several principles as a guide for policy and practice within government, businesses, education, health care, and others. In addition, Generations United and the Alliance call for lawmakers to recognize all generations in the family when creating public policies, person- and family-centric practices, and community-building initiatives.

Join Generations United and the Alliance at 9:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, May 13 at the National Press Club Holeman Lounge, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C. Live tweeting will take place at the event by @AllianceNews, @FISOnline, and @GensUnited using the hashtag #families2014. The media is invited to interview Donna Butts of Generations United and Susan Dreyfus of the Alliance after the event.

The Alliance for Children and Families is a national organization dedicated to achieving a vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families. The Alliance works for transformational change by representing and supporting its network of hundreds of nonprofit human serving organizations across North America as they translate knowledge into best practices that improve their communities. Working with and through its member network on leadership and advocacy, the Alliance strives to achieve high impact by reducing the number of people living in poverty; increasing the number of people with opportunities to live healthy lives; and increasing the number of people with access to educational and employment success. The report is the first in a series to be developed under the auspices of Families in Society, the Alliance’s 95-year-old journal, one of the nation’s oldest and most highly regarded scholarly publications on family-centered social work. Go to and for more information.

For nearly three decades, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. We believe that we can only be successful in the face of our complex future if generational diversity is regarded as a national asset and fully leveraged.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Generations United from March 12-14, 2014 among 2,022 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Kirstin Anderson at 414-359-6521.

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