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Time spent providing eldercare, 2015–16

September 27, 2017

Sixteen percent of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over (41.3 million people) provided unpaid eldercare during the 2-year period of 2015 and 2016. On days they provided eldercare, caregivers spent an average of 2.8 hours in caregiving activities.

Time spent providing eldercare by eldercare activity and sex of eldercare provider, on days they provided care, 2015–16
Caregiving activity Time spent (in hours)
Total Men Women

Total, activities reported as care done for those age 65 and over

2.84 2.77 2.88

Telephone calls, mail, and e-mail

0.03 0.03 0.02

Working and work-related activities

0.05 (1) 0.07

Other activities, not elsewhere classified

0.05 (1) 0.04

Organizational, civic, and religious activities

0.06 0.05 0.06

Purchasing goods and services

0.08 0.07 0.09


0.17 0.17 0.17

Eating and drinking

0.19 0.23 0.17

Caring for and helping household members

0.28 0.24 0.31

Caring for and helping nonhousehold members

0.36 0.29 0.40

Household activities

0.54 0.52 0.56

Leisure and sports

1.03 1.10 0.99

(1) Estimate is suppressed because it does not meet the American Time Use Survey publication standards.

Caregivers spent 1.0 hour per day in caregiving associated with leisure and sports on days they provided care. This includes 25 minutes (0.41 hour) per day in eldercare associated with socializing and communicating.

Caregiving related to household activities accounted for 32 minutes per day (0.54 hour) on days when caregivers provided eldercare. Women spent more of their time devoted to household activities on food preparation and cleanup; men spent more time on lawn and garden care.

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see "Unpaid Eldercare in the United States — 2015–16 Data from the American Time Use Survey" (HTML) (PDF). 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. Unpaid eldercare can be provided to household or nonhousehold members, as well as people 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.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Time spent providing eldercare, 2015–16 at (visited April 19, 2024).

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