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The Opioid Crisis And Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Apr 22, 2019 01:47PM ● By Press Release

States With High Opioid Prescribing Rates Have Higher Rates of Grandparents Responsible for Grandchildren: Louisiana Among Top Five Southern States

In the wake of the opioid epidemic that was declared a public health crisis in 2017, there has been increasing concern about what happens to the children of parents with substance abuse disorders who may be unable to care for their children.

New Census Bureau research shows that grandparents may sometimes step in to care for these children.

Five states among those with the highest percentage of both the population age 30 and over raising grandchildren and opioid prescribing rates are located in the South. 

The percentage of the population age 30 and over who are raising grandchildren is higher in states that have higher opioid prescribing rates, according to a new working paper, entitled “The Opioid Prescribing Rate and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: State and County Level Analysis.

This research uses both survey estimates from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year data and administrative 2016 Opioid Prescribing Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Higher Rates in Southern States

  • Four states ­— Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi — have among the highest rates on both measures – opioid prescribing and adults age 30 and over raising grandchildren -- while Minnesota has one of the lowest.
  • Some states on the list of the top and bottom five do not differ statistically from states that are not on the list.
  • Five states among those with the highest percentage of both the population age 30 and over raising grandchildren and opioid prescribing rates are located in the South.
  • Five states that are among the lowest percentages of the population age 30 and over raising grandchildren and opioid prescribing rates are spread across regions. 

 

States That Have Among the Highest and Lowest Percentage of the Population Age 30 and Over Raising Grandchildren  



Mississippi2.9 %
Arkansas2.2 %
Louisiana2.2 %
Alabama
2.2 %
Kentucky2.1 %

 
U.S. Average
1.4


Maine0.8
Vermont0.8
North Dakota
0.8
Wisconsin0.8
Minnesota0.7

 

Note: Estimates shown in this table may not differ statistically from one another or from estimates for other states.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012-2016 American Community Survey, 5-year estimates <www.census.gov/acs>.

By: LYDIA ANDERSON

Lydia Anderson is a family demographer in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division.