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Coresident Grandparents and Their Grandchildren: 2012

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Report Number P20-576


American households include a variety of living arrangements. Recent trends in increased life expectancy, single parent families, and female employment, increase the potential for grandparents to play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. Increases in grandparents living with grandchildren are one way that the grandparent role has changed.

This report explores the complexity of households in which grandparents and grandchildren live together. It uses data from the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey (ACS), the Current Population Survey (CPS), and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). It capitalizes on the strengths of each of these data sources to provide a more complete picture of households containing grandparents and grandchildren.

This report contains five sections: (1) an overview of households with coresident grandparents and grandchildren; (2) historical changes in coresidence of grandparents and grandchildren; (3) characteristics of grandchildren who live with a grandparent; (4) characteristics of grandparents who live with grandchildren; and (5) a comparison of coresident grandparents to grandparents who do not live with their grandchildren.

Some highlights of this report are:

  • About 3 percent of all households contain both grandparents and grandchildren. More than 60 percent of these households were maintained by a grandparent.
  • About 2.7 million grandparents were “grandparent caregivers” (those who had primary responsibility for grandchildren under 18 years living with them).
  • About 10 percent of all children live with a grandparent.
  • Since 2007, about one-third of children who live with a grandparent also have two parents present.
  • Grandparents who live with grandchildren are younger, less educated, and more likely to be divorced or widowed than grandparents who do not live with a grandchild.
  • Coresident grandparents are also more likely to be in poverty and more likely to be unable to work due to illness or disability compared with grandparents who did not live with grandchildren.
Page Last Revised - December 28, 2022
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