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
U.S. Average 1.4
North Dakota 0.8
(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)
States With the Highest and Lowest Opioid Prescribing Rates
Rate per 100 residents
U.S. Average 66.5
New York 42.7
District of Columbia 32.5
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016 Opioid Prescribing Data)
(Author Lydia Anderson is a family demographer in the Census Bureau’s Social, Economic and Housing Statistics division.This research was recently presented as a poster at the Population Association of America annual meetings.)
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