South Asian grandparents eight times more likely to live with grandchildren

May 25, 2016

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun |

Bikrangit Singh Pandher, 76, likes the way the “kitchen is always crowded” in the north Surrey mansion he shares with his son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Bikrangit and wife Ranjit, 72, say they appreciate the lower cost of living, shared meals and lively lifestyle that comes with cohabiting with three generations inside the richly furnished, six-bedroom house in Surrey’s Tynehead neighbourhood.

“It’s hard for grandparents to live alone,” Ranjit says through her grandson, Arshvir, who regularly translates his grandparents’ Punjabi into English. “If grandparents get sick, who is going to take care of them?”

The Sikh seniors, who arrived in Metro Vancouver from India in the early 1990s, illustrate new research showing South Asian grandparents are much more likely than most Canadian grandparents to live not only with their children, but with their grandchildren.

South Asian grandparents are eight times as likely to live with their grandchildren as grandparents of some other ethnic groups in Canada, including Japanese and Caucasians, according to Statistics Canada data.

When it comes to other ethnic groups in Canada, South-East Asian (Vietnamese, Malaysian), Chinese and Filipino grandparents are roughly four times as likely to live in three-generation households as are Caucasian and Japanese grandparents.

The 2011 General Household Survey reveals that almost 27 per cent of South Asian grandmothers in Canada live with their children and grandchildren. That compares to only six per cent of Korean-Canadian grandmothers and three per cent of Japanese and Caucasian grandmothers.

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