2.4 Million Grandparents Are Primary Caregivers

Jul 11, 2002
George Anderson

The 2000 Census found that more than 2.4 million grandparents are the primary caregivers to a grandchild. It was the first time the once-a-decade count tracked such living arrangements, reports The Associated Press. The three-part long-form question on grandparenting was added to the latest census to comply with welfare changes passed in 1996.

The 2000 form asked if a grandparent was responsible for “most of the basic needs” of a grandchild in the home. “Yes” was the answer from 42 percent of the nearly 5.8 million grandparents living with a grandchild.

Percentages of such living arrangements were highest in the South and rural counties across the Midwest and West, and lowest in the Northeast, California and Hawaii. Wyoming and Oklahoma led states in the share of grandparents who served parental roles to grandchildren — at 59 percent. It was lowest in Massachusetts, at 28 percent.

The majority of families with children are headed by married couples, according to data released last year from short-form questions asked of all U.S. residents. That percentage declined from 76 percent of such households in 1990 to 72 percent in 2000.

Moderator Comment: How will non-traditional families (divorce/remarriage, same-sex unions, grandparents as primary care-giver, etc.) affect consumer marketing and retailing?

Not only are more grandparents taking over child-rearing duties, but men old enough to be grandparents (calling Larry King, calling Larry King) are becoming fathers again. According to a Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans think it is okay for a man older than 60 years to father a child. [George Anderson – Moderator]

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