Facts and Figures

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

In the future most people's lives will include at least one episode of unpaid caring.

The latest figures on carers are from the 2001 Census. This showed that there are nearly 6 million carers in the UK. This is 10% of the total population, or approximately 12% of the adult population. 58% of carers are women and 42% are men.

Carers and employment – facts and figures:

• As many as 3 million people combine work with caring for someone who is disabled, ill or frail.

• Every year, over 2 million people become carers, some overnight, some more gradually – so there is a new population of carers in the workforce every day.

• Carers make up over 12% of the total UK workforce, 1 in every 7 employees.

• Of the 2.5 million people in England and Wales who combine caring with paid work, 1.5 million work full-time, 662,000 are part-time and 380,000 are self-employed. (1)

• Almost 400,000 people in the UK combine full-time work with caring for 20 hours a week or more, of these 200,000 are working full time and caring for 50 hours per week or more. (2)

• Eight out of ten carers are of working age, ie aged between 16 and 65.

• 90% of working carers are aged 30+ – in their prime employment years. (3)

• Male carers are more likely to be in work than females, six out of ten male carers work, and 90% of these work full-time.

• Working carers pay a heavy penalty in terms of their own health. Those with heavy caring responsibilities are 2 to 3 times more likely than workers without caring responsibilities to be in poor health. (4)

• An Equal Opportunities Commission survey in 2004 showed that one in five carers had given up work or turned down a job because of their caring responsibilities.

• Women are more likely to give up work in order to care. (5)

• Carers UK's Real Change Not Short Change survey (2007), which had a higher proportion of heavy end and older carers, found that more than half (54%) had given up work to care. Many had retired early due to their caring responsibilities – an average of 8 years early.

• The carers who responded to this survey had lost an average of £11,000 per year in earnings because of giving up work, cutting their hours or taking a more junior job.

• Men and women who care for 20 or more hours a week are much less likely to be in higher level jobs. (6)

• Working carers are more likely to be unqualified, and less likely to hold university degrees, than other people in employment. (7)

Sources

(1) More than a Job: Working Carers: Evidence from the 2001 Census. Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, University of Leeds (Carers UK, 2006).

(2) We Care – Do you? Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, Sheffield Hallam University (Carers UK, 2005).

(3) More than a Job: Working Carers: Evidence from the 2001 Census. Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, University of Leeds (Carers UK, 2006).

(4) More than a job: Working Carers: Evidence from the 2001 Census. Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, University of Leeds (Carers UK, 2006).

(5) It Could Be You – A report on the chances of becoming a carer (Carers UK, 2001).

(6) More than a Job: Working Carers: Evidence from the 2001 Census. Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, University of Leeds (Carers UK, 2006).

(7) Who Cares Wins: Statistical Analysis: Working Carers: Evidence from the 2001 Census. Lisa Buckner and Sue Yeandle, Sheffield Hallam University (Carers UK, 2006).