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40.4 million people provided unpaid eldercare in 2017–18

December 05, 2019

Sixteen percent of the civilian population age 15 and older, 40.4 million people, provided unpaid eldercare in 2017–18. Eldercare providers are people who provide unpaid care to someone age 65 or older who needs help because of a condition related to aging. People ages 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare, with 24 percent providing care. Twenty-one percent of people ages 45 to 54 and 18 percent of those age 65 and older provided eldercare. Among people age 15 and older, 17 percent of women were eldercare providers, compared with 14 percent of men.

Percent of the U.S. population age 15 and older who were eldercare providers, by age, 2017–18 averages
Age Total Men Women

Total

15.5% 13.5% 17.4%

15 to 24 years

10.2 8.9 11.5

25 to 34 years

8.7 7.1 10.2

35 to 44 years

11.5 10.2 12.6

45 to 54 years

20.9 17.2 24.4

55 to 64 years

24.2 21.3 26.9

65 years and older

17.5 16.4 18.4

On a given day, 26 percent of eldercare providers engaged in eldercare. Eldercare providers who were age 65 and older were the most likely to provide care on a given day (37 percent).

Percent of eldercare providers who provided care on an average day, by selected characteristics, 2017–18 averages
Characteristic Percent

Total

25.7%

15 to 24 years

11.4

25 to 34 years

17.4

35 to 44 years

17.5

45 to 54 years

22.4

55 to 64 years

31.5

65 years and older

37.2

Men

23.7

Women

27.1

Employed

19.9

Full-time workers

18.9

Part-time workers

23.1

Not employed

35.5

Women were more likely than men to provide eldercare on a given day—27 percent of female eldercare providers engaged in eldercare activities on a given day, compared with 24 percent of male eldercare providers.

In 2017–18, eldercare providers who were not employed were nearly twice as likely to provide care on a given day as were eldercare providers who were employed (36 percent, compared with 20 percent).

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see “Unpaid Eldercare in the United States — 2017–2018 Data from the American Time Use Survey.” Unpaid eldercare can be provided to household or nonhousehold members, as well as people living in retirement homes or assisted care facilities.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 40.4 million people provided unpaid eldercare in 2017–18 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/40-point-4-million-people-provided-unpaid-eldercare-in-2017-18.htm (visited August 15, 2020).

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