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The role of care provider for grandchildren can be assumed by grandparents. This role can be one of providing occasional care, day care or as full-time sole care provider (i.e. grandchildren living with grandparents in the absence of their immediate parents). As sole providers, the grandparents then assume the associated responsibilities of caring for children - the emotional, structural and financial support of the children.
In 2003 there were 7.6 million households, of which 71% (5.4 million) were family households. Of these, 22,500 were grandparent families with children aged 0-17 years in Australia. These families represented around one percent of all families with children aged 0-17 years. The majority of grandparent families (73%) reported the age of the youngest child was between 5 and 14 years.
In 39% of grandparent families, the younger partner or lone grandparent was younger than 55 year, 45% were in the 55-64 year age group and 16% were in the 65 and over age group.
In around one-third (34%) of grandparent families, one or both grandparents were employed and 62% received a government pension, benefit or allowance as their main source of income.
For further information, refer to Family Characteristics,Australia, 2003 - (cat. no.4442.0), released on 22 September, 2004.
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