United States


Census 2000 was the first to ask grandparents if, for whatever reason, they are currently responsible for most of the basic needs of a grandchild or grandchildren under the age of 18 living with them on a temporary or permanent basis. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 mandated that the decennial census collect data on this subject. Questions on the topic of "Grandparents as Caregivers" determine if and for how long a grandparent has been responsible for their grandchildren. Of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren, nearly 40 percent reported being responsible for their grandchildren for more than 5 years.

Grandparents as Caregivers, 2000
Number Percent
Total People Age 30 years and older* 158,881,037 100.00%
Living With Grandchildren 5,771,671 3.63%
Living With but Not Responsible for Grandchildren 3,344,941 2.11%
Responsible for Grandchildren 2,426,730 1.53%
Responsible for Less Than 6 Months 293,045 0.18%
Responsible for 6 to 11 Months 262,623 0.17%
Responsible for 1 to 2 Years 563,403 0.35%
Responsible for 3 to 4 Years 374,251 0.24%
Responsible for 5 or More Years 933,408 0.59%
Not Living With and Not Responsible for Grandchildren 153,109,366 96.37%

* Though the Census Bureau asks all people 30 years and older to respond to questions regarding grandparent responsibility for grandchildren, the questions are of particular significance to the elderly population.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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