September 10, 2006 is Grandparents’ Day in the United States. According to the Census Bureau, this Hallmark Holiday 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.

Grandparents’ Day is a relatively new holiday. The first presidential proclamation was issued in 1978, designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Of course, what’s interesting about Grandparents’ Day is that the Grandparent generation (by and large) are populated by Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) and their parents. We’re talking the large population bubble that seems to affect everything from Social Security and Medicare to the housing boom (and now bust).

The census bureau has some interesting facts about Grandparents:

There are about 56 million grandparents in the United States. (Source: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and ProgramParticipation).

5.7 million grandparents have grandchildren under 18 live with them.(Source: American FactFinder)Grandparents as Caregivers).

2.4 million grandparents are 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 42 percent of all grandparents whose grandchildren live with them. Of these caregivers, 1.5 million are grandmothers and 880,000 are grandfathers. (Source: American FactFinder)

1.4 million grandparents are in the labor force and also responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren. (Source: AmericanFactFinder).

Compare this number to the Census numbers released last week about the number of working seniors in the U.S. Forty-five percent of senior women aged 60 to 64 are working; 23 percent of senior women aged 65 to 69 are working, and 12 percent of senior women aged 70 to 74 are working. Those numbers are up dramatically in the past 20 years.The number of senior men who are working is increasing as well.

6.1 million children live with a grandparent. That’s 8 percent of all children in the U.S. Of these more than half live in a grandparents home and 1.9 million live in a parent’s home.

More than 80 percent of the nation’s grandparents visited or spoke with their grandchildren in the past month.

Sept. 5, 2006