Research by the AARP has shown that grandparents are generous in spending on their grandchildren.

Collectively, grandparents spent $179 billion a year on their grandchildren at the time of a 2018 AARP survey. The average spent was $2,562.

The spending included money for gifts, vacations, daily necessities and education.

More than 2,600 grandparents took part in the study.

The number of grandparents in the United States has grown to at least 70 million, up from 56 million in 2001, according to the most recent survey by the AARP.

The youngest grandparents in the survey “were about 38 years of age” and most — 96% — were grandparents by age 65. The average age to become a grandparent was 50, up from 48 in 2011.

Some 86% said they bought gifts, at an average cost of $805 a year.

The study found one in seven grandparents extend their finances even further by providing their grandchildren with necessities such as groceries and other day-to-day living expenses.

An even greater number of grandparents, one in five, said they spent money on their grandchild’s school or college tuition, an average of $4,075 a year.

grandparents reading book with little granddaughter

Portrait of grandparents reading book with little granddaughter

Regardless of their own educational background, 95% of grandparents said it was important for their grandchildren to receive higher education and they feel comfortable discussing their grandchildren’s career ambitions.

Here is some more information obtained from the study:

Grandchildren continue to refer their grandparents by traditional names – 70% use a form of “grandma” and 60% use a form of “grandpa.”

More than half of grandparents consider themselves a source of wisdom and provide a moral compass on issues such as education, morals and values.

Grandparents take care of their grandchildren by babysitting, with one in 10 living in the same household with their grandchildren and 5% of those being the primary caregiver.

A majority of grandparents view their parenting style to be superior to parents today. In fact, more than half agree that spanking is an effective form of discipline compared to 4% of parents who do it today.

40% of grandparents feel they are tech savvy. About a quarter of grandparents use video chat and text often to communicate with grandchildren.

89% of grandparents said their relationship with their grandchildren is good for their mental well-being and 67% said their grandchildren make them more sociable.

There is a lot of interest in skip-gen travel – grandparent-grandchild only trips. The survey showed 61% of grandparents were interested in traveling alone with their grandchildren and 32% have taken their grandkids on a skip-gen trip.

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