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New AARP Research on Grandparents Busts Stereotypes on Attitudes, Employment, Finances and Lifestyle

Grandparents going on road trip with grandchildren
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AARP released its Grandparents Today National Survey highlighting the latest trends among grandparents in the United States. Since 2001 the number of grandparents has grown by 24 percent from 56 million to 70 million. The research found that grandparents spend an average of $2,562 annually on their grandchildren, equaling approximately $179 billion dollars per year. The youngest grandparent is about 38 years old, with 50 being the average age of becoming a first-time grandparent.

The research found that grandparents have, on average, four to five grandchildren, down from six to seven in 2011. The number of grandparents in the workforce has increased in the past seven years, with 40 percent of grandparents currently employed up from 24 percent in 2011

“Today’s grandparents are an economic force that cannot be ignored,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research, AARP. “They are living longer, working longer, shattering stereotypes and supporting their grandchildren in a variety of ways, including financially and culturally. Nearly all grandparents are providing some sort of financial support, helping to ease the costs of raising kids.”

Key Financial Findings:

The research found that grandparents enjoy the positive aspects of grandparenting such as supporting dreams and sharing roots, history and culture, and experiences. But grandparenting can have a downside for some: 13 percent of grandparents struggle with the financial expectations of being a grandparent, including the cost of traveling to see the grandchildren. Seven percent of grandparents have taken on debt to help their grandchildren pay for college and one in four of those grandparents have cosigned private student loans for their grandchildren and/or incurred credit card debt that has not yet been paid back in full.

View the Grandparents Today National Survey – Financial Fact Sheet.

Other key findings of the research include:

  • 94 percent of grandparents provide some sort of financial support to their grandchild(ren);
  • 87 percent would accept an LGBT grandchild;
  • 34 percent have grandchildren of mixed or different race/ethnicity;
  • 71 percent say their health status is very good or excellent;
  • 89 percent say their relationships with their grandchild(ren) is good for their mental well-being;
  • 29 percent live more than 50 miles away from their closest child, up from 19 percent in 2011;
  • 11 percent have a grandchild living with them, consistent with 2011 results;
  • 5 percent of those in multigenerational households are primary caregivers of a grandchild living with them.

The full report is available here.

 

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