Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Economic News Release
PRINT:Print
ATUS TUS Program Links

Unpaid Eldercare in the United States--2017-2018 Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, November 22, 2019					   USDL-19-2051

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 -- 2017-2018
			      DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


Sixteen percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over or 40.4 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 3.4 hours providing this care. These estimates are averages for the 2-year period of 
2017-18.

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 2017-18

   --Of the 40.4 million eldercare providers in the civilian noninstitutional population age 15
     and over, the majority (58 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 (18 percent). (See table 1.)

   --Fifty percent of eldercare providers had provided this care for 2 years or less, while 15 
     percent had provided care for 10 years or more. Forty-six 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 13 
     percent provided care for someone age 65 to 69. (See table 2.)

   --Compared with caregivers who were younger and older, eldercare providers ages 15 to 34 were
     more likely to care for a grandparent, and those ages 35 to 64 were more likely to care for
     a parent. (See table 3.) 

   --Fifteen 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. (See table 2.) 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--65 percent compared with 18 percent. (See table 4.)

Time spent providing eldercare in 2017-18

   --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 (37 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 (6.1 million providers) spent 3.0 hours per 
     day providing care. (See table 4.)

   --Eldercare providers who cared solely for a parent spent an average of 1.2 hours per day
     providing eldercare (includes days they did and did not provide care). (See table 4.)

   --Eldercare providers spent an average of 3.4 hours in caregiving activities on days they 
     provided care. Providers who were not employed spent more time providing eldercare (4.1 
     hours) than employed providers (2.6 hours) on days they provided care. (See table 4.)

   --On weekend days they provided care, employed eldercare providers spent an average of 3.3 
     hours doing so. This compares to an average of 2.3 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--27 percent of female
     eldercare providers engaged in eldercare activities on an average day, compared with 24 
     percent of male eldercare providers. On days they provided eldercare, men and women spent 
     nearly the same amount of time providing this care (3.5 hours and 3.3 hours, respectively).
     (See table 4.)

Eldercare activities in 2017-18

   --On days they provided care, 36 percent of eldercare providers engaged in caregiving 
     associated with household activities, spending on average 36 minutes per day in these 
     activities. This includes 27 percent of providers who engaged in eldercare associated with
     food preparation and cleanup and 10 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 1.2 hours per day in these activities. 
     This includes 24 percent of eldercare providers who engaged in eldercare associated with 
     socializing and communicating, spending 26 minutes per day in these activities. 
     (See table 5.)

Eldercare providers who were parents with children under age 18 living at home in 2017-18

   --There were 8.2 million eldercare providers who were parents of children living at home. 
     Of these parents, about one-third (35 percent) had a child under age 6, and the remainder 
     (65 percent) were parents whose youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 17. (See 
     table 9.) 

   --Almost one-half (48 percent) of eldercare providers who were parents of children living at
     home 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 (82 percent) eldercare providers who were parents were employed, and 69 percent were
     employed full time. Eighty-nine percent of fathers were employed full time, compared with
     55 percent of mothers. (See table 9.)  

   --Fifteen 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 (12 percent compared with 21 percent) but just
     as likely to provide care several times a week (23 percent and 25 percent, respectively). 
     (See tables 2 and 9.)



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: November 22, 2019