Survey of Grandparents Reveals Stress of Caring for Grandchildren

Research on the health impact of having grandparents provide child care

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health and the University of Toronto undertook a collaborative research and dissemination project on the prevalence and nature of childcare provided by grandparents.

In 1999 and 2000, project researchers surveyed 3,260 grandparents drawn from the 1992–94 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) conducted by the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The goal was to determine the prevalence, profile, and health status of grandparents providing extensive care for a grandchild.

Key Findings

  • Of the grandparents surveyed, 40 percent had provided some care to grandchildren in the last month.
  • Of the grandparents surveyed who had provided care for a pre-schooler while an adult child worked, one in five provided extensive care.
  • Of grandparents providing extensive childcare, 18 percent lived in poverty, compared with 16 percent of non-caregiving grandparents and 8 percent of occasional caregiving grandparents.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided partial support for this project with a grant of $49,999 from January 1999 to December 2000.