The £7billion savings of grandparent childcare revealed by Understanding Society study

Data from Understanding Society, ISER’s study of 40,000 households since 2009, has revealed the growing trend for grandparent childcare for UK working families, in a major new analysis by the charities Age UK and Grandparents Plus.

  • Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 the number of children receiving informal childcare from their grandparents went up from 1.3 million to 1.6 million (from 11.7% to 14.3% of all children aged 0 – 14).
  • The total number of child- hours of childcare provided by grandparents
    over the year also rose from 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion, a 35% increase.
  • Grandparents Plus and Age UK have estimated the value of grandparental childcare at £7.3 billion, almost double its value in 2004 in cash terms.
  • Younger grandmothers (eg aged 50 to 64) who are fit, healthy
    and with younger grandchildren are the most likely to be providing care for their grandchildren, often to enable parents, and especially mothers,
    to work. Any reduction in the availability of grandparental care is likely to lead to mothers leaving the labour market.


Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest