It seems like many grandparents are rearing their grandchildren in my community. It this happening everywhere?
YES. The longevity revolution has increased the number of three-, four-, and five-generation families. This along with a growing incidence of divorce and remarriage, drug and alcohol addiction, AIDS, incarceration, and unemployment within the parental generation has resulted in grandparents stepping into the parent role with increasing frequency. Census figures estimate the number of grandchildren living with their grandparents (about one-third without a parent present) to be as high as 3.9 million, with African American grandchildren being slightly more than three times more likely than their white grandchildren to be in this type of living arrangement. There are grandparent-headed households in every socioeconomic and ethnic group.
Linda Breytspraak, Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Tuesday, March 14, 2006