Grandparents play an important role in many Missouri households
the 5,586,114 people in Missouri in 2004, 12.8 percent were age 65
or older according to recently released data from the U.S. Census
Bureau's 2004 American Community Survey. Missouri was just over the
U.S. average of 12.0 percent and ranked 14th among the states in the
percentage of the population 65 and older. The state with the
largest percentage of older adults was Florida at 16.5%. In Alaska,
only 6.2 percent of the population is 65 or older.
The share of Missouri's population age 85 and older is also greater than the U.S. average at 1.4 percent compared to 1.3 percent for the U.S.
Of Missouri's population age 65 and over in 2004, 9.5 percent were below the poverty level. This ranked Missouri at 17th in the U.S. and was just above the U.S. average of 9.4 percent. Mississippi had the largest percentage of citizens age 65 and older in poverty at 15.2 percent.
Nearly one quarter (23.0 percent) of Missouri's households had at least one person age 65 or older in 2004, in line with the U.S. average of 22.9 percent. In Florida, that figure is 29.6 percent.
Data from the American Community Survey also indicates that Missouri's older population is important to the state's children. In 2004, 50.5 percent of Missouri grandparents who lived in the same household as grandchildren were responsible for those grandchildren. "Responsible" means financially responsible for providing food, shelter, clothing, daycare, etc. to the grandchild.
Missouri ranks 21st among the states for grandparent responsibility and above the U.S. average of 41.8 percent. Arkansas had the highest percentage of grandparents caring for grandchildren in the same household at 65.1 percent.
Of the Missouri grandparents responsible for grandchildren in 2004, 29.3 percent cared for the children less than one year, while 35.9 percent cared for grandchildren for 5 or more years. Other characteristics of Missouri's grandparents who are responsible for their grandchildren include: 59.3 percent were female, 72.5 percent were married, 61.3 percent were in the labor force and 15.8 percent were in poverty in 2004. (Grandparents in the survey could be under 65.)