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September 2004
Vol. 5, no. 9

Perspectives on Labour and Income

The sandwich generation
Cara Williams

  • In 2002, about 27% of those aged 45 to 64 with unmarried children in the home were also caring for a senior. More than 8 in 10 of these individuals worked, causing some to reduce or shift their hours or to lose income.
  • Sandwiched workers were more likely to feel generally stressed—about 70% compared with about 61% of workers with no child-care or elder-care responsibilities. However, almost all (95%) felt satisfied with life in general—about the same percentage as those with fewer caregiving responsibilities.
  • Women were more likely than men to be sandwiched and, on average, provided more hours of elder care per month (29 versus 13).
  • The effects of providing elder care increase with time spent. For example, one-half of those spending more than eight hours per month (high-intensity caregivers) had to change their social activities, and over a third had to change their work schedule.

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Cara Williams is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-6972 or

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