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21 percent of eldercare providers were parents of children under age 18 in 2021–22

November 28, 2023

November is National Family Caregivers Month, making it a good time to recognize those who provide unpaid care to older adults. There were 37.1 million eldercare providers age 15 and older in 2021-2022. 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-one percent of eldercare providers, or 7.8 million, were also parents of children under age 18 living at home. Among these parents who provided eldercare, 32 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 of children under age 18 living at home by selected characteristics, 2021–22 averages
Characteristic Total Men Women

Age of youngest child

Parent of a child age 6 to 17

68.2 64.5 70.6

Parent of a child under age 6

31.8 35.5 29.4

Employment status

Employed full time

70.8 86.8 60.3

Employed part time

11.5 4.3 16.3

Not employed

17.6 8.9 23.4

Marital or partner status

Spouse or partner present

86.7 92.1 83.1

No spouse or partner present

13.3 7.9 16.9

Seventy-one percent of eldercare providers who were parents of children under age 18 living at home were employed full time. Men were more likely to be employed full time than women (87 percent compared to 60 percent). Most of these eldercare providers (83 percent of women and 92 percent of men) had a spouse or unmarried partner present in the household.

More than half (57 percent) of these 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 their aging parents.

 Percent of eldercare providers who were parents of children under age 18 living at home by relationship to care recipient, 2021–22 averages
Relationship to care recipient Total Men Women

Caring for a parent

56.9 59.1 55.4

Caring for another related person

26.1 27.1 25.4

Caring for a grandparent[1]

19.9 12.8 24.7

Caring for a friend or neighbor

8.7 10.0 7.8

Caring for someone else

3.7 3.8 3.6

[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 — 2021–2022: 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, 21 percent of eldercare providers were parents of children under age 18 in 2021–22 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/21-percent-of-eldercare-providers-were-parents-of-children-under-age-18-in-2021-22.htm (visited April 13, 2024).

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