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The Grandparent Boom!

Record 70 million Americans have grandchildren

The Grandparent Boom

Michael Heffernan/Getty Images

Oh, the joy of grandparenting!

The baby boom has become the grandparent boom: There are now more grandparents in the U.S. than ever before — some 70 million, according to the latest census. That's a 24 percent increase since 2001.

In fact, of all adults over 30, more than 1 in 3 were grandparents as of 2014.

The same boomers who famously doted on their children are now lavishing attention on the next generation — and with an average of five to six grandchildren per grandparent, that can mean quite a financial investment. An AARP study showed that 25 percent of grandparents have spent more than $1,000 in the past year on their grandchildren. It is spent on gifts as well as vacations. An entire travel industry has now grown around intergenerational travel.

It is all quintessential boomer grandparenting, says columnist Barbara Graham.

"My mother loved my son, but there was nothing like the level of obsession my friends and I have for our grandchildren," Graham says.

Other than being great news for Hallmark — maybe Grandparents Day will really catch on — experts agree that the more grandparents there are, the better for all involved.

"Grandparenting is healthy for us," says Lillian Carson, author of the landmark book The Essential Grandparent. "Being in touch with the younger generation literally beefs up the immune system."