More Grandparents Than Ever Raising Children

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Nearly 5 million children in the U.S. are being raised by their grandparents, according to data from the American Community Survey (ACS). That’s 400,000 more than in 2000, based on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Some 4.9 million children under the age of 18 are living in households headed by grandparents, according to the nonprofit Generations United, which analyzed the ACS data.  

“More families, with the economic downturn are moving in together,” said GU Associate Director Jaia Peterson Lent.

Neither of the child’s parents are living in the residence in nearly a quarter of these homes, according to ACS numbers, which are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 2.5 million grandparents report that they are completely responsible for the grandchildren living in their homes.

Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United indicated that the trend is positive in the sense that more relatives are taking over children’s care, instead of them ending up in a foster home.

“Grandparents are doing our country a great service by stepping in, helping raise children and keep families together,” said Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United. “In purely economic terms, grandparents raising their grandchildren save taxpayers more than six billion dollars a year, keeping kids out of the foster care system.”

Around 50 percent of grandparent led households in the U.S. are white. Around 25 percent are African American, and about 19 percent are Hispanic or Latino. Over half of these households have grandparents that are under the age of sixty, and about 20 percent are living in poverty themselves.