Eldercare in 2011 and 2012
September 20, 2013
Sixteen percent of the U.S. civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over (39.6 million people) provided unpaid eldercare in 2011 and 2012. 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.
Total, 15 years & over
15 to 24 years
25 to 34 years
35 to 44 years
45 to 54 years
55 to 64 years
65 years and over
Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity
Parent of household children under 18 years
Parent of one or more household children
Parent of a household child age 6 to 17, none younger
Parent of a household child under age 6
Not a parent of a household child
No spouse or unmarried partner present in household
Spouse or unmarried partner present in household
Educational attainment, 25 years and over
Less than a high school diploma
High school graduates, no college
Some college or associate degree
Bachelor's degree and higher
NOTE: Not all race categories are shown. Persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity may be of any race.
During the 2011–2012 period, 17.4 percent of women provided eldercare, compared with 14.7 percent of men.
Individuals ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare (23.1 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), followed by those age 65 and over (16.3 percent).
The eldercare provider rates for Whites and Blacks were 16.6 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively. For persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity (who may be of any race) the rate was 10.4 percent.
Overall, 16.7 percent of workers provided eldercare. Part-time workers did so at a higher rate (18.1 percent) than did full-time workers (16.3 percent); those not employed provided eldercare at a lower rate (15.2 percent).
People without children at home and parents with children age 6 to 17 (and none younger) provided eldercare at higher rates (17.3 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively) than parents with children under age 6 (9.0 percent). Those with a spouse or unmarried partner present provided eldercare at a higher rate (17.3 percent) than those without a spouse or partner present (14.6 percent).
Among persons age 25 and over, those with higher levels of education spent more time caring for those over 65. Among those with a bachelor’s degree and higher, 19.1 percent provided eldercare and among those with some college or associate degree the rate was 18.8 percent. High school graduates and those with less than a high school diploma provided eldercare at lower rates (15.9 percent and 9.0 percent).
These data are from the American Time Use Survey. To learn more, see "Unpaid Eldercare in the United States — 2011–2012 Data from the American Time Use Survey" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-13-1886.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Eldercare in 2011 and 2012 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130920.htm (visited September 22, 2020).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
- Using BLS Data to Match People with Disabilities with Jobs Presents data that can help increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities in the nation’s labor market.
- How Women and Aging Affect Trends in Labor Force Growth Examines how women’s labor force participation and the aging of the U.S. population affect trends in labor force growth.
- Meal Appeal: Patterns of Expenditures on Food away from Home
Examines spending on food away from home, such as meals or snacks from restaurants, vending machines, employer cafeterias, or other venues.
- Job Flexibilities and Work Schedules in 2017–18
Examines data on job flexibilities, such as working at home, flexible schedules, and shift work.