NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - If you've noticed that there are more grandparents around now than ever before, you've observed correctly. If you haven't noticed, you might start to pay attention now.
"The population age 65 and older is growing and it's growing at quite large rates," said Dr. Erica Chito-Childs, a sociology professor at Hunter College.
She said we're seeing what is being called "the graying of America," thanks to the current elderly population living longer than their predecessors.
"We have advances in healthcare, as well as there are certain problematic behaviors, such as smoking. Less of the population smokes, so we have less smoking-related deaths," Chito-Childs said.
In fact, data from the Census Bureau predicts that in about 30 years, people 65 and older will outnumber people 18 and younger. The census also specifically asks people if they're grandparents, which is a number that has grown more than 20 percent since 2001.
Based on the U.S. Census, in the year 2060 the grandparent population will be close to double what it is now. Chito-Childs a lot of challenges and opportunities come with that growth.
"People today as they get older are really still wanting to be involved in society, they're taking better care of themselves," Chito-Childs said. "So I think that the challenge is going to be really about perception and how as a society we embrace the older population and recognize that it's not a weakness, it doesn't have to be a concern, it can actually be a benefit."
Chito-Childs said she wants to remind young people that they'll be grandparents one day, too, so don't take your elders for granted and try to harvest their knowledge.