This article examines the prevalence of grandparent caregiving in the U.S. and presents a national profile of grandparent caregivers based on current data from the National Survey of Families and Households. More than one in ten grandparents are found to have cared for a grandchild for at least 6 months, with most of these having engaged in a far longer-term commitment. Although custodial grandparenting cuts across gender, class, and ethnic lines, single women, African Americans, and low income persons are disproportionately represented. Multivariate logistic analysis indicates that three groups — women, recently bereaved parents, and African Americans — have approximately twice the odds of becoming caregiving grandparents. Implications for further research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Author notes

The authors gratefully acknowledge the Commonwealth Fund for its support of this research. The Commonwealth Fund is a New York Citybased national foundation which undertakes independent research on health and social issues.