Grandparents here, there, and everywhere.

Posted On March 24, 2017

During his stand-up routine in the Spike Lee movie, “The Kings of Comedy,” the late comedian Bernie Mac had a memorable bit bemoaning the disappearance of grandmothers.

He wasn’t necessarily talking about grandmothers in the literal sense, but grandmothers as he knew them growing up – old ladies who had no patience for foolishness and no qualms about yanking an unruly youngster in line.

“Big Mama’s gone,” Mac said. “What’s Big Mama now, 36?”

Are grandparents really getting younger?

According to the Wall Street Journal, not so much. With nearly one in seven children in the U.S. now being born to parents aged 35 and older, WSJ notes, the percentage of women between ages 60 and 64 who have no grandchildren, only 10 percent in the 1990s, is expected to reach 25 percent by 2020. The estimated median age for grandparents in 2015: 64.

But according to, the average age at which people first became grandparents in 2016 was 48. Eighty percent of them had welcomed their first grandchild before their 60th birthday. Sixty percent of them hold either a full-time or part-time job.

Even if that does include Walmart greeters, it’s still a large number.

Now let’s compare those numbers with some from, which recently looked at the numbers from a 2002 AARP report on grandparents. The average age of grandparents in 2002: 64. The average age at which people first became grandparents: 47.

These are still your parents’ grandparents.

There’s one thing that’s clear, however, regardless of which newspaper you read – whatever their ages, the ranks of grandparents are growing by leaps and bounds. According to the New York Times, the number of U.S. grandparents grew 24 percent from 2001 to 2014, when their numbers totaled nearly 70 million.

With Baby Boomers hitting the grandparental sweet spot, those numbers will only grow and grandparents will become an even larger portion of the population in the coming years. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are projected to be 80 million in the U.S. by 2020. The Times quoted Fordham University professor Carole Cox as saying that by the year 2050, there will be more people over 65 than under 18.

It’s a great time to own stock in Hershey’s or Reese’s. There are going to be a lot of people with grandchildren to spoil.

Categories: Baby Boomers, Generation Y / Millennials, Generations