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Fun Facts About Grandparents

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These statistics about grandparents may surprise you

In honor of National Grandparent’s Day, the U.S. Census Bureau offers these interesting statistics about grandparents. I was surprised, for instance, by the large number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.


General Statistics about Grandparents

  • How many grandparents reside in the United States? About 56 million
  • How many grandparents are married? 1.7 million


Grandparents as Caregivers (and Heroes)

  • How many grandparents have grandchildren under age 18 living with them? 5.7 million
  • How many grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs (food, clothing, shelter) of one or more of the grandchildren who live with them? 2.4 million, or about 42 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren live with them. Of these caregiver grandparents, 1.5 million are grandmothers and 880,000 are grandfathers.
  • How many grandparents are in the labor force and provide for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren? 1.4 million
  • How many grandparents are responsible for caring for their grandchildren for at least five years? 920,000. Of those grandparent caregivers, more were over age 60 (55 percent) than under age 60 (32 percent).
  • How many grandparents whose income is below the poverty level are caring for their grandchildren? 460,000
  • How many grandparents with a disability are caring for their grandchildren? 700,000
  • How many foreign-born grandparents are responsible for caring for their grandchildren? 320,000
  • How many grandparents who speak English less than “very well” are responsible for caring for their grandchildren? 270,000

  • Among preschoolers with employed mothers, what percentage is regularly cared for by their grandparent during the hours their mom spends employed outside the home? 28%--No other type of child care arrangement was more common than caregiving by grandparents.


Where Do Caregiver Grandparents Live?

  • Which geographical area of the United States has the highest percentage of caregiver grandparents? The South (48 percent)
  • Which area has the lowest percentage of caregiver grandparents? The Northeast (34 percent)
  • Which states have the most caregiver grandparents? Oklahoma and Wyoming, with 55 to 59 percent
  • Which states have the lowest percentage of caregiver grandparents? Hawaii and Massachusetts, with 28 to 31 percent


Grandchildren Living with Grandparents

  • How many children live with a grandparent in the home? 6.1 million, or eight percent of all children in the United States. Of these children, 4.1 million lived in a grandparent’s home and 1.9 millionlived in a parent’s home.
  • How many children reside with both a grandmother and a grandfather? 2.2 million


Remember Your Grandparents on Grandparents Day...and Every Day

  • What percent of grandparents in the U.S. had either visited or spoken with their grandchildren by phone in the past month? About 80 percent
  • How many grandparents receive Grandparents Day cards, nationwide, each year? About 3 million (Courtesy of Hallmark research)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000

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