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Facts for Features
July 7, 2008

Grandparents Day 2008: Sept. 7

Grandparents Day was the brainchild of Marian McQuade of Fayette County, W.Va., who hoped that such an observance might persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents. President Jimmy Carter signed the first presidential proclamation in 1978 -- and one has been issued each year since -- designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The first official observance was Sept. 9, 1979. In honor of our nation's grandparents, the Census Bureau presents an array of data about these unsung role models and caregivers.

6.1 million

The number of grandparents whose grandchildren younger than 18 live with them.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>

Grandparents as Caregivers

2.5 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 live with them. These grandparents represent about 40 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren live with them. Of these caregivers, 1.6 million are grandmothers, and 896,000 are grandfathers.

1.7 million

The number of grandparent-caregivers who are married.

1.4 million

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


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


Number of grandparents whose income is below the poverty level and who are caring for their grandchildren.


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


Number of grandparents who speak a language other than English and who are responsible for caring for their grandchildren.


Median income for families with grandparent-caregiver householders. If a parent of the grandchildren was not present, the median dropped to $31,405.


Among grandparents who care for their grandchildren, the percentage who live in an owner-occupied home.
Source for statements in this section: 2006 American Community Survey <http://www.census.gov/acs/www/>


5.7 million

The number of children living with a grandparent; these children comprise 8 percent of all children in the United States. The majority of these children, 3.7 million, live in the grandparent's home.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/families_households/cb07-46.html>

2.1 million

The number of children who live with both a grandmother and a grandfather.
Source: Families and Living Arrangements: 2006 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/families_households/cb07-46.html>


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. Grandparents and fathers were the two biggest sources of child care by relatives when mothers went to work.
Source: Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/children/cb08-31.html>

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

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl XLII (Feb. 3)
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day (May 11)
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day (June 15)
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day (Sept. 1)
  • Grandparents Day (Sept. 7)
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week (Sept. 21-27)
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 27)
  • The Holiday Season (December)

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. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014