There are more grandparents in the United States than ever before, and I want to be one of them.And for you Millennials who have stopped responding to your parents’ texts on the topic, you cannot escape: the number of American grandparents is up 24% since the turn of the century, rising from 56.1 million in 2001 to 69.5 million as of 2014. Back in 2001, 38% of women over 45 with children were grandparents, as were 31% of men. Those figures are now 61% and 57%, respectively.
How is this happening?
Well, 75.4 million boomers make up an exceptionally large pool of potential grandparents, and our seniors are living longer. My physical therapist knows that my goal for my back is “to be able to pick up my grandchildren.” And go hiking and skiing and paintballing with them. Yes, I am highly focused, and every marketer out there can exploit the many millions of me.
Mintel's tracking of travel trends takes heed, noting a surge in “baby boomer grandparents who have the time and the money to travel and can treat their children and grandchildren to vacations.” And AARP's travel trends research reports that, among the basically 100% of us planning to travel for fun, 26% will be taking our offspring and grandchildren along for the ride.
Unfortunately, my grandparental-biological clock is timed to my daughters’ generation which is delaying childbirth like never before. Since 2000, the average age of first-time mothers has increased from 24.9 years, to 26.3 in 2014, with an especially sharp increase since 2009. The proportion of first births to women aged 30–34 rose 28%, and first births to women aged 35 and over rose 23% during this time period.
So, the pent-up pressure for grandkids is not getting diffused by these young, sensible professionals. No wonder our blood pressure is up and everyone is worried about the aging American population and health care costs! Kidding aside, and back to my back, one of the biggest industries of concern for the growing senior set is healthcare–along with the financial sector. Not only are we going to have to be body surfing beyond when our bodies can take it, we sure hope we can pay for the whole-family package!