The number of children being raised by a grandparent spiked during the onset of the recession, growing nine percent between 2007 and 2008 to nearly three million kids. That’s according to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Of course, a far greater number of grandparents provide some help with childcare as opposed to serving as their grandchildren’s primary caregivers.
I believe that one of the positive, lasting legacies of the recession could be an increase in family members across the generations sticking together instead of spreading out across the country – whether that means a return to multi-generational households or family members simply choosing to live closer to each other. That would allow more grandparents to be more involved in caring for their grandchildren, and it would enable older people to stay in their homes as their health declines, since other family members could more easily provide help.
We are blessed to live five doors away from my wife’s brother and his family. While I haven’t quantified this in any statistically meaningful way, I believe we have been leaning on each other more in recent months, taking turns watching each other’s kids more often than paying for babysitters. I see anecdotal evidence of this type of thing happening more often among other families as well.
What about you? Has the recession brought about any changes in the amount of time you spend giving or receiving help from other family members?