Passage through generational status is one of the processes accompanying human development and aging. This entry explains the concept of the pivot generation and how different demographic patterns influence when people enter—and exit—this phase of life. Differences between cultures and time periods are also considered.

Defining the Pivot Generation

In contemporary populations with low levels of mortality—such as the United States, Japan, and most of Europe—most children are born into families containing members of three, or sometimes four or even five, living generations of which they are the youngest. Passage to the second generation comes with parenthood (or the birth of nieces and nephews). As they reach later midlife, these second-generation members with one or more living parents or parents-in-law may acquire increasing responsibilities for their aging ...

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