How has the demography of grandparenthood changed over the last century? How have racial inequalities in grandparenthood changed, and how are they expected to change in the future? Massive improvements in mortality, increasing childlessness, and fertility postponement have profoundly altered the likelihood that people become grandparents as well as the timing and length of grandparenthood for those that do. The demography of grandparenthood is important to understand for those taking a multigenerational perspective of stratification and racial inequality because these processes define the onset and duration of intergenerational relationships in ways that constrain the forms and levels of intergenerational transfers that can occur within them. In this article, we discuss four measures of the demography of grandparenthood and use simulated data to estimate the broad contours of historical changes in the demography of grandparenthood in the United States for the 1880–1960 birth cohorts. Then we examine race and sex differences in grandparenthood in the past and present, which reveal declining inequality in the demography of grandparenthood and a projection of increasing group convergence in the coming decades.
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