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8.2 million parents of children under age 18 provided eldercare in 2017–18

December 20, 2019

There were 40.4 million eldercare providers age 15 and older 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. Twenty percent of eldercare providers, or 8.2 million, were also parents of children living at home. Among the parents who provided eldercare, 35 percent were parents of a child under age 6, and the rest were parents whose youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 17.

Percent of eldercare providers who were parents by selected characteristics, 2017–18 averages
Characteristic Total Fathers Mothers

Age of youngest child

Parent of a child age 6 to 17

65.4% 66.8% 64.4%

Parent of a child under age 6

34.6 33.2 35.6

Employment status

Employed full time

68.6 89.0 55.4

Employed part time

13.5 3.5 19.9

Not employed

17.9 7.4 24.7

Marital or partner status

No spouse or partner present

15.0 6.4 20.5

Spouse or partner present

85.0 93.6 79.5

Sixty-nine percent of eldercare providers who were parents were employed full time. Fifteen percent of eldercare providers who were parents had no spouse or unmarried partner present in the household.

Almost half (48 percent) of eldercare providers who were parents provided care for their own parent. These people sometimes are described as members of the "sandwich generation" because they are responsible for the care of their own children and of their aging parents.

Percent of eldercare providers who were parents by relationship to care recipient, 2017–18 averages
Relationship to care recipient Total Fathers Mothers

Caring for a parent

47.8% 55.1% 43.1%

Caring for another related person

26.2 31.1 23.0

Caring for a grandparent[1]

20.1 11.5 25.8

Caring for a friend or neighbor

15.1 16.1 14.5

Caring for someone else

6.6 4.4 8.1

[1] Refers only to people caring for a grandparent who did not live with them. People caring for a grandparent who lived with them are included in the category "Caring for another related person."

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 and people living in retirement homes or assisted care facilities.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 8.2 million parents of children under age 18 provided eldercare in 2017–18 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/8-point-2-million-parents-of-children-under-age-18-provided-eldercare-in-2017-18.htm (visited August 04, 2020).

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