(RNN) - Grandparents are honored as a result of federal proclamation on the first Sunday after Labor Day despite that among them are legions unable to tell grandchildren no.
National Grandparents Day has been celebrated since 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation eight years after Marian McQuade, a West Virginia housewife, started a campaign to establish the day.
Some families observe the day, September 11, by simply spending time together. Others gather and share family history and traditions - sometimes with old photo albums as part of the show-and-tell - at luncheons, reunions or family picnics. Phone calls and Skype connect those too distant to visit.
"The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well," humorist Sam Levenson suggested, "is that they have a common enemy." He also said that "The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent."
Comedian Rita Rudner advises that people should "Have children while your parents are still young enough to take care of them." But perhaps writer Gore Vidal offered the best advice for bringing out the best qualities in people: "Never have children, only grandchildren."
McQuade and her husband, Joe, had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
By the second year of the National Grandparents Day observance, Carter noted in his 1979 proclamation, America had 17 million grandparents.
Numbers from a U.S. Census Bureau news release paint a more-recent picture of the nation's grandparents:
7.2 million -
The number of grandparents whose grandchildren under age 18 were living with them in 2014.
Grandparents as Caregivers
2.6 million -
The number of grandparents responsible for the basic needs of one or more grandchildren under age 18 living with them in 2014. Of these caregivers, 1.6 million were grandmothers and 1.0 million were grandfathers.
The number of grandparents responsible for grandchildren under age 18 whose income was below the poverty level in the past 12 months, compared with the 2.1 million grandparent caregivers whose income was at or above the poverty level.
The median income for families with grandparent householders responsible for grandchildren under age 18. Among these families, where a parent of the grandchildren was not present, the median income was $37,044.
1.8 million -
The number of married (including separated) grandparents responsible for caring for their grandchildren.
1.5 million -
The number of grandparents in the labor force responsible for their own grandchildren under age 18. Among them, 383,694 were 60 years or older.
The number of grandparents who had a disability and were responsible for their grandchildren.
1.8 million -
The number of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren who were living in owner-occupied housing, compared with 831,146 that were living in renter-occupied housing.
The number of foreign-born grandparents responsible for their own grandchildren under age 18. This contrasts with 2.1 million native-born grandparent caregivers.
2.0 million -
The number of grandparents responsible for their grandchildren who spoke only English. Another 248,942 spoke another language, but spoke English “very well;” 384,077 spoke another language and spoke English less than “very well.”
5.8 million -
The number of children under age 18 living with a grandparent householder in 2014. Nearly half or 2.7 million were under age 6.
3.1 million -
The number of children in 2015 who were living with both of their grandparents, regardless of whether they were also living with their parents.
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