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Grandparents Day - Facts and Statistics on Grandparents

Author: U.S. Census Bureau

Published: 2010-07-12

Synopsis and Key Points:

U.S. Census Bureau Facts and statistics regarding grandparents in America for Grandparents Day.

Main Digest

U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day 2010: Sept. 12

In 1970, Marian McQuade began a campaign to set aside a special day just for grandparents. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the first presidential proclamation, designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The first official observance was Sept. 9, 1979 - and has been celebrated every year since. In honor of our nation's grandparents, the Census Bureau presents an array of data about the role they play in our lives.

6.4 million

The number of grandparents whose grandchildren younger than 18 lived with them in 2008.

Source: 2008 American Community Survey

Grandparents as Caregivers

2.6 million

The number of grandparents responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren who lived with them in 2008. These grandparents represented about 41 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren lived with them. Of these caregivers, 1.6 million were grandmothers, and 983,000 were grandfathers.


Percentage of grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren and whose income was below the poverty level. This represents 493,000 grandparents.


Median income for families with grandparent-caregiver householders. If a parent of the grandchildren was not present, the median dropped to $34,782.


Number of grandparents responsible for caring for their grandchildren for at least the past five years.

1.9 million

The number of grandparent-caregivers who were married.

1.6 million

The number of grandparents who were in the labor force and also responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren.


Number of grandparents with a disability who were caring for their grandchildren.


Among grandparents who cared for their grandchildren, the percentage who lived in an owner-occupied home.

Source for statements in this section: 2008 American Community Survey


7 million

The number of children living with a grandparent in 2009; these children comprised 9 percent of all children in the United States. Of these children, 4.5 million, lived in the grandparent's home.

Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2009 Table C4

2.7 million

The number of children who lived with both a grandmother and a grandfather in 2009.

Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2009 Table C4


Among children younger than 5 whose mothers worked outside the home, the percentage cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent during their mother's working hours in 2005.

Source: Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau's Facts for Features series:

Editor's note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.

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