WASHINGTON - The number of children being raised by their grandparents has risen sharply since the onset of the recession in 2007, according to a new Pew Research Center study that said one in 10 U.S. children now lives with a grandparent.
The trend was most noticeable among whites, Pew said in its analysis of census data. Caucasians who were primary caregivers for their grandchildren rose 9 percent from 2007 to 2008, compared with a 2 percent increase in black grandparents and no change among Hispanics. In all, 2.9 million children are being raised mainly by at least one grandparent.
For most of the decade, the number of children having a grandparent as their primary caretaker rose slowly and steadily, Pew noted. Then came the deep and lingering recession, which began in December 2007. As the economy soured, the rise was sudden and steep. So while there has been an 8 percent increase in the number of grandparents raising their grandkids, more than half of that - 5 percent - occurred between 2007 and 2008.
Another factor behind the rise is military parents who leave their children with grandparents during multiple deployments as the nation has fought wars on two fronts, said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, which focuses on intergenerational issues.
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