Economic News Release

Unpaid Eldercare in the United States-—2011-2012 Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, September 18, 2013                     USDL-13-1886

Technical information:   (202) 691-6339  *  atusinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/tus
Media contact:           (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                   UNPAID ELDERCARE IN THE UNITED STATES--2011-2012
                       DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


Sixteen percent of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over (39.6
million people) provide unpaid eldercare, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Nearly one-fourth of eldercare providers engage in unpaid eldercare on a given
day, spending an average of 3.2 hours providing this care. These estimates are averages
for the 2-year period of 2011-12; combining the 2 years of data facilitates a more
in-depth analysis of eldercare. 

Eldercare providers are defined as individuals who provide unpaid care to someone age
65 or older who needs help because of a condition related to aging. This care can be
provided to household or nonhousehold members, as well as persons living in retirement
homes or assisted care facilities. Eldercare can involve a range of care activities,
such as assisting with grooming, preparing meals, and providing transportation. 
Eldercare also can involve providing companionship or being available to assist when
help is needed, and thus it can be associated with nearly any activity.

Information about eldercare providers and the time they spend providing care were
collected as part of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). The ATUS is a continuous
household survey that provides estimates on how people spend their time. For a
description of ATUS data, concepts, and methodology, see the Technical Note.

Eldercare providers in 2011-12

   --Of the 39.6 million eldercare providers in the civilian noninstitutional
     population age 15 and over, the majority (56 percent) were women. (See
     table 1.)

   --Individuals ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide
     eldercare (23 percent and 22 percent, respectively), followed by those
     age 65 and over (16 percent). (See table 1.)

   --Half of eldercare providers had provided care for 2 years or less, while
     15 percent had provided care for 10 years or more. (See table 2.)

   --The majority (70 percent) of eldercare providers cared for only one person.
     Twenty-two percent of eldercare providers cared for two persons, and 7
     percent cared for three or more persons. (See table 2.)

   --Eighty-five percent of eldercare providers cared only for persons with whom
     they did not live. (See table 2.)

   --Twenty-two percent of all eldercare providers were parents with children
     under age 18 living with them. (See table 2.)

   --Over half of eldercare providers ages 15 to 34 cared for a grandparent, while
     the majority of providers ages 35 to 64 cared for a parent. Providers ages 65
     and over were more likely than those in other age groups to care for a friend
     or neighbor. (See table 3.)

Time spent providing eldercare in 2011-12

   --On a given day, nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of eldercare providers engaged
     in eldercare. Eldercare providers who were ages 65 and older and those who
     were not employed were the most likely to provide care on a given day. (See
     table 4.)

   --On days they provided eldercare, persons spent an average of 3.2 hours in
     caregiving activities. Providers ages 65 and over spent the most time
     providing eldercare (4.1 hours), and providers ages 15 to 24 spent the
     least amount of time (1.3 hours). (See table 4.)

   --Eldercare providers were slightly more likely to provide care on weekend days
     than on weekdays (26 percent compared with 22 percent). They spent the same
     amount of time in caregiving on weekdays and weekend days when they provided
     care (3.2 hours). (See table 4.)

   --On days they provided eldercare, women spent more time providing this care
     than did men (3.5 hours compared with 2.9 hours). (See table 5.)

Eldercare activities in 2011-12

   --On days they provided care, 38 percent of eldercare providers engaged in
     caregiving associated with household activities, spending on average 40
     minutes per day in these activities. This includes 28 percent of providers
     who engaged in eldercare associated with food preparation and cleanup and
     12 percent who provided eldercare associated with housework. (See table 5.)

   --Thirty-six percent of eldercare providers engaged in caregiving associated
     with leisure and sports on days they provided care, spending 1.1 hours per
     day in these activities. This includes 23 percent of eldercare providers
     who engaged in eldercare associated with socializing and communicating and
     12 percent who provided care associated with watching TV. (See table 5.)

   --Women were more likely than men to provide eldercare associated with
     household activities on days they provided care (41 percent compared with
     34 percent), whereas women and men were about equally likely to provide
     eldercare associated with leisure and sports (36 percent and 35 percent).
     (See table 5.)

   --On days they provided care, 31 percent of persons caring for someone age 85
     or older provided eldercare associated with socializing and communicating,
     compared with 15 percent of providers for someone age 65 to 74. (Data refer
     to providers caring for one person only.) (See table 8.)

Eldercare providers who were parents of household children under age 18 in 2011-12

   --There were 8.9 million eldercare providers whose children under age 18 lived
     with them. Of these parents, about one-third (32 percent) had a child under
     age 6, and the remainder (68 percent) were parents whose youngest child was
     between the ages of 6 and 17. (See table 9.)

   --Forty-five percent of eldercare providers who were parents of household
     children provided care for their own parent. These persons sometimes are
     described as members of the "sandwich generation," because they are in
     between two generations that require care. (See table 9.)

   --Most (78 percent) eldercare providers who were parents were employed, and
     62 percent were employed full time. Eighty-three percent of fathers were
     employed full time, compared with 48 percent of mothers. (See table 9.)

   --Seventeen percent of eldercare providers who were parents had no spouse
     or unmarried partner present in the household. (See table 9.)

   --Eldercare providers who were parents were less likely to provide daily
     care than the overall population of eldercare providers (13 percent
     compared with 20 percent). (See tables 2 and 9.)



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: September 18, 2013
Recommend this page using: