The slow economy and growing number of active, healthy retirees from the Baby Boom generation mean that more grandparents are taking an active role in their grandchildren's lives, according to new census data released this week.
The Associated Press reports on the trend, stating that 5.8 million children, or nearly 8 percent of all children, are living with grandparents identified as the head of household. In 2000, 4.5 million, or 6.3 percent of all children, lived under those arrangements.
The Baby Boomers have swelled the number of grandparents as well. The data shows that there are currently 62.8 million grandparents in the U.S., the most ever. They are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020. From the AP:
These grandparents reject living in senior communities in favor of "aging in place" in their own homes, near family. In 2009, households ages 55 or older spent billions of dollars on infant food, clothes, toys, games, tuition and supplies for grandchildren, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Grandparents are supposed to be old, gray-haired people tottering around, but the vast majority are actually in the work force," said Francese, who released a paper on the topic last month. "There is not much doubt that the recent recession has brought grandparents and grandchildren together."
(image via: http://www.caringgrandparents.com)