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Honor Your Grandparents on September 11 – National Grandparents Day

African American Family

This year National Grandparents Day will take place on September 11th. Be sure to honor your grandparents on this day and throughout the year. Grandparents play a key role in strengthening and supporting American families.

Recent census data and research highlight that grandparents are increasingly taking on the role of primary caregivers for their grandchildren. A recent Pew Research Center study shows that the number of children being raised by their grandparents has risen significantly since the start of the recession in 2007. The study found that one in 10 children in the U.S. now lives with a grandparent

A Rise in Grandfamilies

Generations United, an organization that supports intergenerational collaboration, refers to families headed by grandparents and other relatives and comprised of nephews, nieces and grandchildren, as “grandfamilies”. More than six and a half million children in the U.S. live in households maintained by grandparents or other relatives. In about a third of these homes no parents are present. Grandfamilies emerge for many different reasons, including parental death, substance abuse, military deployment and mental illness. Recent news articles note that job loss brought on by the current recession has led to a rise in grandfamilies.

Recent Census Data on Grandparents

The following data on grandparents comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2005-2009 American Community Survey (ACS). Most of these figures count grandparents of different ages.

  • About 2.5 million grandparents who live with their grandchildren report they are responsible for their own grandchildren
  • About 1.8 million of these grandparents are married and about 750,000 were never married, are widowed or divorced
  • About 950,000 of these grandparents are male. About 1.6 million of these grandparents are female
  • About 830,000 of these grandparents are age 60 or older
  • About 950,000 of these grandparents report that they have been responsible for the grandchildren for more than 5 years

This data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 ACS presents information on grandparents 65 plus.

  • Approximately 716,000 grandparents aged 65 or over maintained households in which grandchildren were present in 2009.
  • About 942,000 grandparents over 65 years lived in parent-maintained households in which their grandchildren were present.
  • A total of about 1.91 million older people lived in household with a grandchild present in the house.
  • About 475,000 of these grandparents over 65 years old were the persons with primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

For Information on Support for Caregivers

National Family Caregiver Support Program
The National Family Caregiver Support Program is funded by the Older Americans Act and offers a range of services to support family caregivers, including individual counseling, caregiver training and supplemental services.

National Family Caregivers Association
The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 50 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers' lives by removing barriers to health and well being.

Generations United
Generations United (GU) is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies.

Family Caregiver Alliance
The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) is one of the largest and oldest organizations in the United States devoted solely to caregivers. FCA and its National Center on Caregiving offer programs at local, state, and national levels.

National Alliance for Caregiving
The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving.

The Eldercare Locator
The Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service to help families and friends find information about community services for older people anywhere in the United States and its territories.