Published Online: July 14, 1999
Published in Print: July 14, 1999, as Children & Families

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Grandparent Snapshot: The 2000 census will include several questions about people who are caring for their grandchildren, but a recently released report from the U.S. Census Bureau already includes information about the growing number of households in which grandchildren and grandparents live together.

Almost 5.5 million children--or 7.7 percent of all children in the United States--were living with at least one of their grandparents in 1997, according to the report. Most of those homes--75 percent--were maintained by a grandparent, meaning they were owned or leased in that person's name.

The report also indicates that among all families in which a grandparent lives with grandchildren, certain types--such as those in which the grandchildren live only with a grandmother--are more likely to live in poverty.

There are other differences as well. In homes maintained by grandparents, a majority of both the grandfathers and grandmothers are employed. But in homes maintained by parents in which grandparents also live, only a third of the grandfathers and a quarter of the grandmothers are employed.

In homes where grandparents are the heads of household, about 27 percent of the grandchildren are poor, and a third of the grandchildren are without health insurance. In homes maintained by parents, 17 percent of the grandchildren are poor, and 19 percent have no health insurance.

Data for the report, "Coresident Grandparents and Grandchildren," come from the 1997 Current Population Survey.

At Work in Chicago: The Chicago school system not only serves students from the Alba Homes neighborhood, a housing project on the city's South Side; it also employs their parents through a new welfare-to-work project run by the district's human resources department. Twenty former welfare recipients, whose children attend school in the city, are working for the district in entry-level, part-time jobs that provide full benefits.

Most are making $7.96 an hour working as lunchroom attendants, preparing meals and cleaning kitchens.

The program is part of a plan by Mayor Richard M. Daley to rebuild the Alba Homes neighborhood. Other goals include building 2,900 new housing units and improving park facilities and transportation service. Plans call for an additional 500 residents to receive job training and chances for interviews with the school district and other city agencies.

--Linda Jacobson ljacobs@epe.org

Vol. 18, Issue 42, Page 6

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