Unpaid Eldercare in the United States--2015-16 Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, September 20, 2017			USDL-17-1292

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 -- 2015-16 
                DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


Sixteen percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over (41.3 million
people) provide unpaid eldercare, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
About one-fourth (26 percent) of eldercare providers engage in unpaid eldercare on a
given day, spending an average of 2.8 hours providing this care. These estimates are
averages for the 2-year period of 2015-16.

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 are 
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 2015-16

  •  Of the 41.3 million eldercare providers in the civilian noninstitutional
     population age 15 and over, the majority (56 percent) were women. (See table 1.)

  •  Individuals ages 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare (24 percent),
     followed by those ages 45 to 54 (21 percent) and those ages 65 and over (19 percent).
     (See table 1.)

  •  Almost one-half (48 percent) of eldercare providers had provided this care for
     2 years or less, while 14 percent had provided care for 10 years or more. Forty-
     five percent of caregivers provided care daily or several times a week.
     (See table 2.)

  •  Thirty-nine percent of eldercare providers cared for someone age 85 or older,
     while 14 percent provided care for someone age 65 to 69. (See table 2.)

  •  A majority of all eldercare providers ages 15 to 34 cared for a grandparent.
     Providers ages 35 to 64 were more likely to care for a parent than were
     caregivers who were younger and older, and those ages 65 and over were more
     likely to care for a spouse. (See table 3.) 

  •  Sixteen percent of eldercare providers cared solely for someone with whom they
     lived, and 83 percent cared solely for someone with whom they did not live. Those
     who provided eldercare for someone in their household were more than three times
     as likely to provide eldercare on a given day than those who provided care for
     someone living in another household--64 percent compared with 18 percent. 
     (See tables 2 and 4.)

Time spent providing eldercare in 2015-16

  •  On a given day, about one-fourth (26 percent) of eldercare providers engaged in
     eldercare. Compared with those in other age groups, eldercare providers who were
     ages 65 and older were the most likely to provide care on a given day (38 percent).
     (See table 4.)

  •  On average over all days--including days they did and did not provide care--providers
     who cared solely for someone with whom they lived (6.5 million providers) spent 2.2
     hours per day providing care. (See table 4.)

  •  Eldercare providers who cared solely for a parent spent an average of 49 minutes
     per day providing eldercare (includes days they did and did not provide care).
     (See table 4.)

  •  On days they provided eldercare, persons spent an average of 2.8 hours in caregiving
     activities. Providers ages 65 and over spent the most time providing eldercare (3.6
     hours). (See table 4.)

  •  On weekend days they provided care, employed eldercare providers spent an average
     of 2.4 hours doing so. This compares to an average of 1.8 hours for employed
     caregivers who provided care on weekdays. (See table 4.)

  •  Women were more likely than men to provide eldercare on a given day--28 percent
     of female eldercare providers engaged in eldercare activities on an average day,
     compared with 23 percent of male eldercare providers. On days they provided
     eldercare, men and women spent about the same amount of time providing this
     care (2.8 hours and 2.9 hours, respectively). (See table 4.)

Eldercare activities in 2015-16

  •  On days they provided care, 37 percent of eldercare providers engaged in
     caregiving associated with household activities, spending on average 32
     minutes per day in these activities. This includes 27 percent of providers
     who engaged in eldercare associated with food preparation and cleanup and
     13 percent who provided eldercare associated with housework. (See table 5.) 

  •  Thirty-seven percent of eldercare providers engaged in caregiving associated
     with leisure and sports on days they provided care, spending 1.0 hour per
     day in these activities. This includes 24 percent of eldercare providers who
     engaged in eldercare associated with socializing and communicating, spending
     25 minutes per day in these activities. (See table 5.)

Eldercare providers who were parents of household children under age 18 in 2015-16

  •  There were 8.7 million eldercare providers who were parents of children living
     at home. Of these parents, about one-third (33 percent) had a child under age 6,
     and the remainder (67 percent) were parents whose youngest child was between the
     ages of 6 and 17. (See table 9.) 

  •  Almost one-half (47 percent) of eldercare providers who were parents of children
     under the age of 18 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 (81 percent) eldercare providers who were parents were employed, and 64
     percent were employed full time. Eighty-six 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 (14 percent compared with 21 percent)
     but just as likely to provide care several times a week (about 25 percent). 
     (See tables 2 and 9.)



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Last Modified Date: September 20, 2017