"Grand" Stand

You might consider it just another “Hallmark Holiday″, but this Sunday is Grandparent’s Day.
Grandparents Day was the brainchild of Marian McQuade of Fayette County, West Virginia, who hoped that such an observance might persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents.

Nor is this a new observance – the first presidential proclamation was issued in 1978, and one has been issued each year since – designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Living Arrangements

There are said to be 56 million grandparents in the U.S., and by some accounts, they spend $27.5 billion every year on the grandchildren they dote on. The median income for families with grandparent-caregiver householders was $40,359, though that dropped to $30,246 if a parent of the grandchildren was not present.

It’s not just about spoiling them with trinkets, however. The Census Bureau reports that 8% of American children live with their grandparent(s). The 2005 American Community Survey notes that 5.7 million grandparents have grandchildren younger than 18 that live with them, and that same survey notes that 2.5 million grandparents who say they are responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren who live with them. Of these caregivers, 1.5 million are grandmothers, and 915,000 are grandfathers.

There’s a lot of talk about working longer in the future – but there are already 1.4 million grandparents who are not online in the labor force, but are also responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren. Moreover, there are 496,000 grandparents whose income is below the poverty level and who are caring for their grandchildren.

So, this weekend – if you’re lucky enough to have living grandparents – say thank you. And if you are already a grandparent, share some wisdom with the rest of us!