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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Canada: A Profile of Skipped Generation Families


  • Esme Fuller-Thomson


Only recently has the topic of Canadian grandparents raising grandchildren begun to receive attention from the media, politicians and researchers. Between 1991 and 2001 there was a 20% increase in the number of Canadian children under 18 who were living with grandparents with no parent present in the home. Using custom tabulation data from the 1996 Canadian Census, this paper presents a profile of grandparents raising grandchildren in skipped generation households (households which only include grandparents and grandchildren) and their household characteristics. There were almost 27,000 Canadian grandparents raising grandchildren in skipped generation families in 1996. These grandparents were disproportionately female (59%), of First Nations Heritage (17%) and out of the labour force (57%). One in three households of grandparent caregivers included a grandparent with a disability and a similar proportion had a household income less than $15,000 per annum. Marked differences were apparent when grandmothers and grandfathers in skipped generation households were compared. Grandmother caregivers were poorer, less likely to be married, more likely to be out of the labour force and more than twice as likely to provide 60 or more hours per week of unpaid childcare than were grandfathers. Implications for further research, policy and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Esme Fuller-Thomson, 2005. "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Canada: A Profile of Skipped Generation Families," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 132, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:132

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1999:89:9:1384-1389_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Candace L. Kemp, 2001. "The Social and Demographic Contours of Contemporary Grandparenthood: Mapping Patterns in Canada and the United States," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 62, McMaster University.
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    More about this item


    Grandparents raising grandchildren; Skipped generation families; Canadian grandparents; First Nations grandparents; Kinship foster care policies; Later-life families;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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