Multi-generational Households, Alternative Caregivers, Childcare, and the 2020 Census

by Rose Marie Paul, HMG-LI Family Resource Specialist

Over the years, the number of multi-generational households has increased.

In 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof.

– The Pew Research Center

Reasons span from economic, health, and immigration related issues which have played a huge role in influencing the rising numbers.

What does this mean for our children? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2011 about 4.8 million preschool age children were cared for by a grandparent. This 4.8 million is just an estimate, considering that many grandparents may have not labeled themselves as “caregivers” given that they may see it simply as, “just taking care of my grandkids.”

This is because the cost of childcare is a barrier, forcing more and more families are seeking alternative options. As a Family Resource Specialist for Help Me Grow – Long Island I have spoken to numerous caregivers looking to be connected to childcare. We routinely refer out to trained childcare specialists at the Child Care Councils of Nassau and Suffolk. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon upon follow-up to learn that the caregiver I referred did not qualify for a childcare subsidy and will end up looking for alternative options. Those options often include either seeking unlicensed day cares, leaving the workforce all together, or enlisting the help of a relative such as the child’s grandparent. 

According to this Zero to Three report, based on the last census numbers, grandparents play a major role in raising the next generation. They often provide childcare for children under 5 while parents are working.

from Zerotothree.org

The 2020 Census began on April 1, 2020 and is expected to end on October 31. It will be interesting to see how the numbers regarding care for young children have changed over the years, as its results affect business decisions, law-making, and federal funding. 

Responding to the 2020 Census can help shape resources for children and their communities over the next decade. This could include support for health insurance programs, hospitals, child care, food assistance, schools, and early childhood development programs… The results, collected once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.

– United States Census 2020

If you do not know about the census, you can visit 2020census.gov for more information. Be sure to respond to your census questionnaire!


Rose Marie Paul works at Docs for Tots as a Bilingual Family Resource Specialist for Help Me Grow  Long Island. She received her Bachelor of Science from Queens College in 2017, where she studied Psychology. In her previous position, Rose served the community as a Bilingual Care Manager at Hispanic Counseling Center for over 2 years. She was responsible for assisting developmentally disabled individuals and their families with accessing a variety of resources and services to meet their needs. As a Care Manager, Rose was able to provide advocacy for children in need of speech, physical, occupational, and behavioral therapies at CSE meetings. 

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