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Study shows just how many grandparents are caring for grandkids

Previously our blog has discussed how the number of grandparents here in the U.S. who are acting as the primary caregivers for their grandchildren has climbed steadily over the last few years. Indeed, statistics show that roughly 2.6 million children are currently living in homes where they are being raised solely by their grandparents.

Interestingly, a new study has recently determined that the number of grandparents stepping up to help raise their grandchildren may actually be much higher than these statistics would otherwise indicate.

The study, performed by US 2010 -- a research group funded by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University -- verified the results of an earlier study by the Pew Research Center, which determined that as many as 7.7 million kids in the U.S. were living in the same household as at least one grandparent in 2011.

In other words, the study authors found that roughly one out of every ten kids were living in environments where their grandparent, while not technically a primary caregiver, was nevertheless involved extensively in their upbringing.

Why then are so many grandparents becoming so intimately involved in the upbringing of their grandchildren?

According to experts, one of the primary reasons is likely the fallout from the recent recession, which saw hundreds of thousands of Americans lose their jobs and their homes. These unfortunate circumstances forced many of them, particularly those with children, to seek refuge with their parents.

"We saw a big uptick during the recession, because grandparents have always been a safety net," said a family life expert with the American Association of Retired Persons.

The study also theorized that the increase in grandparental involvement in their grandchildren's upbringing could be traced to the evolution of the family structure here in the U.S., as divorce/remarriage, single parenting and other nontraditional arrangements are becomingly increasingly common.

Finally, the study noted that living arrangements where three generations are living under the same roof can present certain advantages beyond just helping raise grandchildren.

"A divorced elderly mother may live with an adult child because the housing costs of living alone are too high for the mother to bear alone," reads the study. "Alternatively, intergenerational co-residence may reduce poverty if living with parents enables a single mother to work longer hours at her job and earn more money because her parents are providing child care."

If you are a grandparent who would like to learn more about securing custody of your grandchildren or basic visitation rights here in Texas, consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Study says more and more grandparents are raising their grandkids," Nov. 7, 2013; The Washington Post, "As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says," Tara Bahrampour, Nov. 5, 2013 

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