The Rev. Toni White, likes to go to bed at 9 p.m.
Her 17-year-old granddaughter prefers to stay up much later.
“I have to sleep with one ear open,” said White, who’s 65.
That difference in bedtimes is just one challenge that comes up when grandparents raise their grandchildren. The older generation provides the care for the grandchildren while facing questions about their own health and financial well-being.
White is not alone in parenting under a generation gap. New census data released Wednesday shows that, statewide, the number of children living with grandparents has nearly doubled in the past decade to 112,904, or 10.4 percent of the state’s children younger than 18. In Richland County, the percentage is slightly below the statewide rate with 9.1 percent of the 87,553 children younger than 18 living with grandparents. And, in Lexington County, 7.2 percent of the 64,162 children younger than 18 live with grandparents.
Nationally, 4.9 million children live in households headed by their grandparents.
In cases like White’s, the grandparents have sole responsibility for the children. In others, three or more generations live in one household that often is headed by grandparents.
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