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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* 18,329,469 100.00%
Living With Grandchildren 928,290 5.06%
Living With but Not Responsible for Grandchildren 633,321 3.46%
Responsible for Grandchildren 294,969 1.61%
Responsible for Less Than 6 Months 39,347 0.21%
Responsible for 6 to 11 Months 31,017 0.17%
Responsible for 1 to 2 Years 69,451 0.38%
Responsible for 3 to 4 Years 47,138 0.26%
Responsible for 5 or More Years 108,016 0.59%
Not Living With and Not Responsible for Grandchildren 17,401,179 94.94%

* 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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