Sandwich Generation: Grandparents as caregivers? and GRANDCHILD in the park. (Photo released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.)HERE’S A TWIST on this week’s theme: The sandwich metaphor portrays middle-aged Americans squeezed between the needs of their aging parents and the needs of their adult children. But sometimes the middle of the sandwich is missing—and grandparents are raising their grandchildren.

Did you know that it’s a rising trend since 2000?

About one of ten children lives with a grandparent, according to Pew’s analysis of U.S. Census data. Forty-one percent of these children are primarily being raised by their grandparent, which translates into about three million children.

Which group—black, white, or Hispanic—had the greatest increase in the proportion of grandparents as primary caregivers?

Grandparent caregivers are more common for blacks and Hispanics, but whites experienced the fastest growth. About 53% of all grandparent primary caregivers are white.

Grandparents who are not primary caregivers are still involved in various ways. Half have given money to their adult children in the past year. Almost four of ten (39%) have helped out with childcare. And, three of ten (31%) have helped with housework, home repairs, and errands.

The portrait of the American family is complicated. Assistance, money, emotional care, and help flow in many directions within and across generations. The sandwich generation is portrayed as the giver in two directions. But other flows occur, like the one we’re talking about today—from grandparents to grandchildren.

Are you surprised at the rising trend of grandparents who are primary caregivers?

What helping arrangements characterize your family?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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