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How Do Autism Grandparents Compare to All Grandparents?

Between August 20 and September 4 2018, the AARP surveyed 2,654 grandparents. Although the survey did not deal with autism or other exceptional needs, its results can nevertheless be helpful to all of us grandparents in understanding and developing our own relationships with our grandchildren and their families.



Here is the link to the survey’s overall results, along with 15 “fact sheets”: https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2019/aarp-grandparenting-study.html


 

Following is a sampling of results from this 2018 survey of U.S. grandparents:

  • There are 70 Million grandparents.

  • By age 65, 96% of persons are grandparents.

  • 40% of all grandparents work.

  • 10% live in the same household as their grandchildren.

  • 73% enjoy grandparenting and rate their performance high.

  • 33% have grandchildren of different ethnicities.

  • The majority say they would support LBGT grandchildren.

  • 40% value the telephone as an important communication tool with their grandchildren (as opposed to 70 back in 2011). Texting, videochats, etc. are important in 2018.


 

The survey’s 15 “Fact Sheets” provide a variety of compelling information, and following is a brief sampling:


ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER GRANDPARENTS

  • 20% live in the same household as their grandchildren.

  • 75% are foreign born.


HISPANIC/LATINX GRANDPARENTS

  • Half believe that spanking is effective (as opposed to 4% of today’s parents).

  • They believe in raising girls to be strong and independent.


AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK GRANDPARENTS

  • The average first-time grandparent age is 46 (as opposed to 50 in the overall population).

  • The average number of grandchildren is 5.5 (as opposed to 4.5).

MONEY AND THE MODERN GRANDPARENT

  • The average grandparent spends $805 annually just on gifts.

  • 21% of grandparents spend money on education, an average of $4,075 per year.


HEALTH AND THE MODERN GRANDPARENT

  • 89% say the relationship to their grandchildren nourishes their mental, social and physical well-being.

  • Top activities with grandchildren are going out to eat and family gatherings.


TECH AND THE MODERN GRANDPARENT

  • 73% own a smartphone.

  • 65% are on Facebook.


We autism grandparents will soon have an opportunity to participate in a very special survey: a September 2021 national survey specifically of autism grandparents. Coordinated by volunteers, and with assistance from the AARP and a variety of autism organizations and professionals, the 2021 survey will provide much needed information about this ever-more-valuable resource for the autism community. Ask your local autism service provider for information. With relatively few current opportunities for us autism grandparents to interact with and learn about one another, hopefully the forthcoming survey results will command additional attention and support for us and our families from public, private, and nonprofit autism service providers.

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