Approximately 10% of American children live with a grandparent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data. Over the last ten years, the number of children living with a grandparent has been steadily increasing, with a slight acceleration during 2007-2008 when the recession hit.
The report adds that approximately 41% of children who live with a grandparent(s), 2.9 million in total, are being primarily raised by that grandparent. This figure has also been progressively growing over the last ten years, with a spike during 2007-2008 when the figure rose 6%.
Grandparents as primary caregivers are more common among Afro-American and Hispanic families than among Caucasians. However, since the recession, the numbers among white families has been rising the fastest. (In the USA, the term "Hispanic" tends to refer to Latin Americans excluding Brazil and other non-Spanish speaking countries, but not those from Spain. In the UK "Hispanic" refers to anybody from a Spanish-speaking country, including Spain.)
In 2007-2008 the number of white grandparents who were also the principle caregiver rose by 9%, the report informs, compared to 2% among African-American and 0% among Hispanic families.
About 49% of kids who are raised by grandparents also live with a single parent; 43% of them have no parent at home, while 8% have a caregiver grandparent as well as both parents at home.
80% of American seniors (aged 65+) have grandchildren, while just over half of all 50 to 64 year-olds do so too.
In 2000 about 2.4 million grandparents were their grandchildren's primary caregiver, in 2008 the number rose to 2.6 million; a significant proportion of that increase occurred from 2007 to 2008.
Among the grandparents in America who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren:
- 53% are Caucasian
- 24% are African-American
- 18% are Hispanic
- 3% are Asian
18% of grandparents who take care of children live below the poverty line, while nearly half have total household incomes between 1 and 3 times the poverty line.
67% of caregiving grandparents are less than 60 years old, and 13% are under 45.
62% of caregiving grandparents are women, two-thirds are married, and 34% are not married.
"Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents"
By Gretchen Livingston and Kim Parker, Pew Research Center
September 9, 2010
Written by Christian Nordqvist