Grandparents filling the economic breach

Of all the changes wrought by the Great Recession the past two-plus years, we don’t talk nearly enough about how the lousy economy is altering our family structures.

We’ve taken a run at some of that, looking at how the economy has driven young adults back in with mom and dad and examining the shifting definitions of household breadwinner.

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The reality is when a family member takes an economic hit, somebody else must take up the slack.

When it comes to young children, a new national report shows grandparents are increasingly having to take on the role of raising kids.

Surveys by the Pew Research Center show the recession’s triggered a spike in the number of children with grandparent caregivers.

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Pew notes that while grandparents-as-caregivers is more common among blacks and Hispanics than whites, the sharpest rise since the recession began has been among whites.

The second table shows just how much grandparents have been leaned on during the downturn.

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This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of parents would step in to help their kids no matter the circumstance and would jump at the chance to see their grandkids more often.

But we also know the recession’s been unkind to older workers, their livelihoods and retirement portfolios.

Who’ll take care of the grandparents?

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If you’re taking caring of a grandchild or working through a changing family structure because of the Great Recession, drop us a line and share a story.

BONUS INFO: Terrific MPR video from earlier this year on the recession creating a return to multi-generational living.

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