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Grandfamilies Statistics
Grandfamilies are families headed by grandparents and other relatives who are sharing their homes with their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and/or other related children. Some grandfamilies are multigenerational households where a parent works long hours and wants the child close to family while he or she is at work. However, no parents are present in more than a third of grandfamily households. Grandparents stepped in to provide care when their parents could not care for the children.

The Grandchildren
  • 7.8 million children live in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. These households include those both those where the children's parents may or may not be present.1
  • 2.7 million children (4%) of all U.S. children are being raised in grandfamilies or kinship care situations.2 
  • Children placed with relatives make up over a quarter (26%) of all children in the foster care system.3 
  • For every child being raised in the foster care system, nearly 25 are being raised by grandparents or other relatives outside the system.4

The Grandparents
  • 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren.5
  • 60% of these grandparent caregivers are in the workforce.6
  • 21% live below the poverty line.7
  • 36% have provided care for the children for more than 5 years.8 
  • Grandfamilies save tax payers more than $6.5 billion each year by keeping children out of foster care.9 

“Grandfamilies” come together for different reasons – parental death, substance abuse, military deployment, incarceration, mental illness. As a result, grandfamilies are in every area in the country, all income levels, all races, and all ethnicities. 

Find data about the number of children and caregivers in grandfamilies in your state by visiting the U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder or by viewing grandfamilies state fact sheet for your state.

Take Action:
Sign the petition in support of Grandfamilies

Resources:
Grand Successes: Stories of lives well-raised
Grandparents in the United States Infographic
Grandfamilies State Fact Sheets
American FactFinder
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center

1 U.S. Census Bureau. “Households and Families 2010: U.S. (April 2012)."
2 Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center. “Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families (2012).”
3 Generations United calculated this figure based on the federal share of the 2000 average monthly foster care maintenance payment for 1 million children. The Green Book of the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives estimates the cost at $545 per child. This is approximately half of the children being raised in grandfamilies outside of the formal foster care system. Half the children are used for our calculation, due to a conservative estimate that the other half already receive some type of governmental financial assistance, such as a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) child-only grant. Consequently, the cost of one million children entering the system would represent all new financial outlays for taxpayers.
4 Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families (2012).  Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center. Data source is Population Reference Bureau’s analysis of 2009, 2010, 2011 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Surveys. Estimates represent 3 year averages.
5 The State of America’ s Children Handbook (2012). Children’s Defense Fund. Data Source is U.S. Census Bureau. 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Tables B10050, B10051, B10058, B10059. Additional calculations by Children’s Defense Fund.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Generations United calculated this figure based on the federal share of the 2000 average monthly foster care maintenance payment for 1 million children. The Green Book of the Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives estimates the cost at $545 per child. This is approximately half of the children being raised in grandfamilies outside of the formal foster care system. Half the children are used for our calculation, due to a conservative estimate that the other half already receive some type of governmental financial assistance, such as a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) child-only grant. Consequently, the cost of one million children entering the system would represent all new financial outlays for taxpayers.

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