There are new terms being coined in regards to the level of involvement grandparents have in the lives of their grandchildren (Adcox, 2015):
GRG refers to grandparents raising grandchildren. This term is designated to grandparents who are bringing up grandchildren. Ranges from those with full-custody, that cohabitate with the family (“grandfamilies”), and those that provide most of the care.
GAP are grandparents as parents. Most commonly used for grandparents who are full-time caregivers for grandchildren or have adopted and have full custody of grandchildren. Less often used for grandparents who share in the childrearing with the parents.
Grandparents as Caregivers: A Look at Race and Ethnicity
Over the past decade, the number of grandparents as caregivers has risen sharply. This could be due to many reasons, such as the economy, parents who are no longer in the picture, or deployments for military families. “The trend was most noticeable among whites, Pew said in its analysis of census data. Those whites who were primary caregivers for their grandchildren rose 9 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared with a 2 percent increase among black grandparents and no change among Hispanics” (Morello, 2010). No matter the cause, research shows that “one in 10 children in the U.S. now lives with a grandparent” (Morello, 2010).
In terms of race and ethnicity, the Pew Research Center gives a breakdown of varying factors. A lot of families, no matter what their racial background may be, cohabitate among generations. There are many households that have grandparents living with them, and in some cases these grandparents may be the primary caregivers. “The likelihood that a co-resident grandparent will also be the primary caregiver of a grandchild varies notably by race and ethnicity. About half (49%) of black co-resident grandparents are the primary caregiver for a grandchild” (Livingston, 2013). This number drops to 42% for white grandparents and continues to fall to 31% for Latino grandparents and 15% for Asian grandparents.
When it comes to the amount of time that the different races and ethnicities spend raising their grandchildren as their primary caregivers, there is a notable difference. “Six-in-ten (61%) black caregiving grandparents report that they have spent three or more years as the primary caregiver of a grandchild. This share drops to 54% for white grandparent caregivers and 53% for those who are Latino. Just less than half (48%) of Asian grandparent caregivers report spending so many years caring for a grandchild” (Livingston, 2013). The difference in the amount of time spent as primary caregivers could be a result of co-residing with the family or it may be the result of the grandparents taking in their grandchildren because their parents have other things going on.
Adcox, S. (2015). Grandparents raising grandchildren. Retrieved April 13, 2015, from http://grandparents.about.com/od/grandparentingissues/tp/RaisingGrand.htm
Livingston, G. (2013). Grandparents living with or serving as primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 27, 2015 from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/09/04/grandparents-living-with-or-serving-as-primary-caregivers-for-their-grandchildren/
Morello, C. (2010). Grandparents increasingly fill need as caregivers. Retrieved April 27, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090904076.html