Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents

  • September 09, 2010

One child in ten in the United States lives with a grandparent, a share that increased slowly and steadily over the past decade before rising sharply from 2007 to 2008, the first year of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

About four-in-ten (41%) of those children who live with a grandparent (or grandparents) are also being raised primarily by that grandparent, according to the Census data.

This figure -- 2.9 million children -- rose slowly throughout the decade and it, too, spiked from 2007 to 2008. In that single year, there was a 6% increase.

The phenomenon of grandparents serving as primary caregivers is more common among blacks and Hispanics than among whites, but the sharpest rise since the recession began has been among whites.

The number of white grandparents primarily responsible for their grandchildren rose by 9% from 2007 to 2008, compared with an increase of just 2% among black grandparents and no change among Hispanic grandparents.

Read the full report, Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents a on the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project Web site.