Data tells the stories

As a longtime journalist, I put a lot of stock in reliable data. Many times information is presented, and we […]

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As a longtime journalist, I put a lot of stock in reliable data. Many times information is presented, and we journalists have to ask, what supports this? Where is the data? Many times we can get the background information. Other times, a claim falls apart because there is little to nothing to back it up.

A saying in journalism is that if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

One source of data I like to look through is from the U.S. Census Bureau. The information collected is so valuable, for so many reasons. I like the reports that are regularly issued as they provide a great snapshot of our nation, who we are and what our lives are like.

A report I’ll be watching for will focus on grandparents raising grandchildren. The report is tentatively scheduled for release this month. Since many of develop disabilities as we age, this will be an interesting report. How do those of us who have raised our children repeat that, often under very different circumstances?

The Grandparents and Coresident Grandchildren Report is to provide characteristics of grandparents living with grandchildren under age 18. I am hoping there is some information about grandparents and grandchildren who live with disabilities.

The report also will compare the characteristics of grandchildren by whether their parent or grandparent is the householder, and the age of the grandparent. According to the Census Bureau, data in the forthcoming report comes from the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and 1970-2000 Censuses.

I have a strong personal as well as professional interest in this report. A longtime friend, who lives with disabilities, is raising twin grandsons who are on the autism spectrum. The three of them deal with many challenges, including a recent move. He has reflected on how difficult it is to meet people, make new friends and find life balance. He certainly loves his grandsons but this is not how he expected to be living his life in his 60s.

Some of you may be in the same situation. Or perhaps your disabilities have you living with a grandchild, who helps with care and/or household costs. As housing costs rise everywhere, we must find sustainable solutions.

I am looking forward to this report. I had terrific grandparents, and two very different and interesting step-grandmothers, but looking back, I cannot imagine living with any of them.

Check out the Census Bureau website. Lots of information is available at

A reminder!

The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities extended its deadline for 2024 legislative agenda items. The deadline is this weekend, December 9-10. We heard about several bills on December 6, and we assume more are coming in from MNCCD partners and from other groups.

Go to to learn more. The group’s annual meeting is December 14.

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  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."

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