One in four grandparent-headed families report food insecurity, compared to one in seven among all families with children. Generally, the more care grandparents provide for their grandchildren, the more likely they are to be food insecure. This brief summarizes finding from interviews conducted in 2021 with U.S. adults ages 60 and older who are caring for their grandchildren. The authors summarize the factors contributing to food insecurity among grandparents and call for better policies to assist food-insecure grandparents providing care for their grandchildren as they grapple with inadequate funds, burdensome food assistance programs, inadequate transportation, shortages of fresh foods, and poor health and mobility.

Document Type

Research Brief


Grandparents, Food Insecurity, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


Family, Life Course, and Society | Sociology






This work was supported in part by Grant #1908-17412 from the Russell Sage Foundation. Any opinions expressed are those of the principal investigator(s) alone and should not be construed as representing the opinions of the Foundation. Our thanks to Shanel Khaliq, Claire Pendergrast, Sarah Reilly, Winston Scott, and Rebecca Wang for assistance with interviews and data analysis. Our thanks to Alyssa Kirk and Shannon Monnat for editorial assistance.


Russell Sage Foundation

Funding ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.