Grandparents day: Still no need to send a card

I felt guilty this afternoon when I noticed a lot of people clicking on this old post about Grandparents Day. I should have updated it sooner. Better late than never, here is the updated trend of children (ages 0-14) living in the households of their grandparents, by poverty status:

children living with grandparents.xlsx

It looks like that near-poor group may have been given a boost by the recession. But the trend is basically upward for everyone.

My comments from a few years ago are still OK:

Interestingly, as the figure shows, the jump in multigenerational living was greatest for the non-poor (those over 200% of the poverty line). In addition to fallout from job losses, one can imagine this includes families displaced by foreclosure and job loss, grandparents who can’t afford to move into retirement communities because they can’t sell their homes, and other complications of the real estate crash.

The children most likely to live with grandparents, however, are the near-poor — those between 100% and 200% of the poverty line. This might include a lot of would-be poor families in which the grandparents are employed, bringing the total family income over the poverty line.

My older research into multigenerational living produced compelling evidence that these arrangements are usually not a first choice in the U.S. these days — because the more money people have, the less likely they are to share housing. Still, the effect of all this could be more intergenerational solidarity and close relationships. But I wouldn’t assume that.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Grandparents day: Still no need to send a card

  1. vijay

    I believe that the above numbers are incorrect.

    From “https://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/children.html”, I get the following table

    Year Total children under 18 Two parents One parent No parents
    Total Mother only Father only Other relatives Percentage Non-relatives
    2014x, s 73,692 50,602 20,258 17,410 2,848 2,271 3.08% 562
    2013x 73,910 50,646 20,531 17,532 2,999 2,121 2.87% 612
    2012x 73,817 50,267 20,915 17,991 2,924 2,139 2.90% 495
    2011x, r 74,002 50,828 20,234 17,615 2,619 2,363 3.19% 576
    2011x 74,630 51,456 20,264 17,636 2,628 2,342 3.14% 568
    2010x 74,718 51,823 19,855 17,283 2,572 2,380 3.19% 662
    2009x 74,230 51,835 19,415 16,911 2,504 2,347 3.16% 633
    2008x 74,104 51,785 19,501 16,888 2,613 2,239 3.02% 580
    2007x 73,746 52,153 19,047 16,658 2,389 2,010 2.73% 535
    2007y 73,746 49,999 21,201 17,881 3,320 2,010 2.73% 535
    2006 73,664 49,661 20,619 17,161 3,458 2,419 3.28% 964
    2005 73,494 49,481 20,722 17,225 3,497 2,529 3.44% 762
    2004 73,205 49,603 20,474 17,072 3,402 2,360 3.22% 769
    2003 73,001 49,903 20,093 16,770 3,323 2,212 3.03% 793
    2002 72,321 49,666 19,770 16,473 3,297 2,075 2.87% 810
    2001 72,006 49,792 19,250 16,117 3,133 2,187 3.04% 775
    2000 72,012 49,795 19,220 16,162 3,058 2,160 3.00% 837

    Even if you assign all children living all with relatives to be living with grand parents, I see no year where children living with relatives greater than say, 3%. It has not budged much from 2-3% in the last 45 years.

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    • I don’t know what table you looked at, but this figure shows about 7% living with grandparents, and a clear increase over the last decade: https://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/graphics/CH-7.pdf. That’s all children 0-18. My figure for 0-14 in 2013 is 8.3% using ACS.

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      • vijay

        I got my data from this one: https://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/graphics/CH-1.pdf; data in Table CH-1. Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present [XLS – 26K] [CSV – 5K]

        From your figure, CH7, I extract the data as follows:

        Total Both parents present Mother only present Father only present No parent(s) present Percentage

        2014x, s 73,692 4,834 926 2,078 240 1,591 6.56%
        2013x 73,910 4,556 868 1,984 273 1,431 6.16%
        2012x 73,817 4,573 832 2,035 252 1,455 6.20%
        2011x, r 74,002 4,907 992 2,051 207 1,656 6.63%
        2010x 74,718 4,851 823 2,137 236 1,655 6.49%
        2009x 74,230 4,474 760 1,965 210 1,538 6.03%
        2008x 74,104 4,350 761 1,858 221 1,510 5.87%
        2007x 73,746 4,013 709 1,793 204 1,307 5.44%
        2006 73,664 3,731 412 1,650 184 1,484 5.06%
        2005 73,494 4,141 486 1,821 240 1,595 5.63%
        2004 73,205 4,050 526 1,765 259 1,501 5.53%
        2003 73,001 3,767 547 1,576 227 1,416 5.16%
        2002 72,321 3,681 477 1,658 275 1,274 5.09%
        2001 72,006 3,844 510 1,755 231 1,348 5.34%
        2000 72,012 3,842 531 1,732 220 1,359 5.34%
        1999 71,703 3,919 535 1,803 250 1,331 5.47%
        1998 71,377 3,989 503 1,827 241 1,417 5.59%
        1997 70,983 3,894 554 1,785 247 1,309 5.49%
        1996 70,908 4,060 467 1,943 220 1,431 5.73%
        1995 70,254 3,965 427 1,876 195 1,466 5.64%
        1994 69,508 3,735 436 1,764 175 1,359 5.37%
        1993 66,893 3,368 475 1,647 229 1,017 5.03%
        1992 65,965 3,253 502 1,740 144 867 4.93%
        1991 65,093 3,320 559 1,674 151 937 5.10%
        1990 64,137 3,155 467 1,563 191 935 4.92%

        The increase in children living with grandparents has been pretty uniform over the last 20 years from 5% to 6.5%

        A third of the increase (about 459 K, from 457 to 926 K) is attributed to grandparents living with parents and children; that is not in grandparents house! It can only be due to immigration, and the acceptability of multigenerational households in immigrant families. I see no increase in acceptability of multigeneraational households in native families;

        The next third of that is with single mothers (515 K from 1563 to 2078); it is possible that the children are in grandparents house. However, this is due to increase in single parent births from 1990 to 2010.

        The third is the rise in children in grandparents house with no parents; that may be a followthrough to the paragraph above where single parents do not have the ability to raise children.

        My point stays:- this is not an economic issue, but a social issue driven by immigration and a rise in single parent households. Uunless it is decomposed by race, single motherhood and family formation failure (which is a cause and effect of poverty) we cannot draw effective conclusions. We should avoid making conclusions based aon a few year data.

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  2. vijay

    I apologize for the wall of data, but I could not make HTML work in the comments. The point was, going back to 1968, there is no real correlation between recession, and children lving with grandparents; all the years, the number was 2-3%.

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