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Caregiving, Recession Likely Behind 64% Rise in Children Living with Grandparent

Posted By Amy Goyer On July 27, 2011 @ 3:14 pm In Take Care | Comments Disabled

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There are many different data sets we can look at regarding family living arrangements, multigenerational households [2] and grandparents caregiving for grandchildren, but consistently they all show growth in recent years [3]. The latest Census Bureau report on the topic once again confirms the increase in families bringing generations together.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the report, Living Arrangements of Children: 2009 [4], which indicated 7.8 million children live with at least one grandparent, more than double the 4.7 million children living with a grandparent in 1991 (a 64% increase.) The data are from the household relationship module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Of those 7.8 million children, the majority (75%) are living in multigenerational homes, with at least one parent also present – about the same percentage as in 1991. That means about 25% are being raised by grandparents [5] with no parents present.

Within racial/ethnic groups, the largest increase in children living with a grandparent over the past two decades has been among white children, with 5% of White children living with a grandparent in 1991, and 9% in 2009. Among Hispanic children, 12% lived with a grandparent in 1991, and 14% in 2009. Black children saw a similar increase, with 15% of Black children living with a grandparent in 1991 and 17% in 2009.

I was interviewed by the Washington Times [6] about these new data, and I stressed the various reasons I believe these numbers have increased so significantly, including:

  • The aging of the population and increased need for adult children to care for aging parents [7], often combining households to do so – even when there are still children living in the home.
  • The recent recession and housing crisis has hit families across all socio-economic groups, with many young families turning to the grandparent generation for help.
  • Parents who aren’t capable of raising their children due to alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness and other problems that lead to child abuse and neglect.

The bad news: none of these problems are going away any time soon.

The good news: the generations continue to come together to cope with these challenges.

The American family may not look exactly like it used to, but – even when one generation is out of the picture – increasingly, another generation will step in to provide the family home a child needs.


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2011/07/27/caregiving-recession-likely-behind-64-rise-in-children-living-with-grandparent/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://aarpblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/family-at-meal-time.jpg

[2] multigenerational households: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparenting/info-03-2009/goyer_grandparents_moving_in.html

[3] growth in recent years: http://blog.aarp.org/2011/05/01/recession-increases-multigenerational-homes/

[4] Living Arrangements of Children: 2009: http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/children/data/sipp.html

[5] raised by grandparents: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparenting/info-12-2010/more_grandparents_raising_grandchildren.html

[6] interviewed by the Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/29/1-in-10-us-children-live-with-a-grandparent/

[7] care for aging parents: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/

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