Change Indicator

Children in kinship care in United States

  • Detailed
  • Sort / Rank

Why This Indicator Matters

There has been an increase in the number of children living with extended family and close friends. Read Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families to learn how to support kinship families.
show more

Definition and Source



Children in kinship care refers to situations in which children are cared for full time by blood relatives or other adults with whom they have a family-like relationship, such as godparents or close family friends. 

Using the relationship to householder items on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, children are identified in kinship care when a parent is not present in the household and the child is either related to at least one other person in the household (e.g., sibling, grandchild, niece/nephew) or is listed as a nonrelative of the householder (e.g., a family friend).

Children listed as housemates, roommates, or boarders are not categorized as children in kinship care. Children identified as a foster child are not categorized as children in kinship care because the familial or friendship relationship tie cannot be determined. The analysis excludes children living in group quarters (i.e., group placements) as well as children who are the householder or spouse of the householder.

Data Source

2009–2018 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC).  Estimates represent a three-year average.


Updated September 2018.

Last Updated

September 2019