Facts and Figures

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

The latest figures on carers are from information published by the Office for National Statistics resulting from the 2011 Census. This showed that there has been an increase of 600,000 (11%) in the total number of carers since the last census in 2001 – with the national figure now standing at 6.5 million carers in the UK. The gender ration has remained the same; 58% of carers are women and 42% are men.

Carers and employment – facts and figures:

  • 3 million people combine caring for a loved one with paid work.

  • 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 11% of the total UK workforce, 1 in every 9 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Carers UK Caring and Family Finances Inquiry UK Report showed that over 2 million people have given up work at some point to care, 3 million have reduced working hours. 

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

  • 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.

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


For a more in depth breakdown of carer demographics, you can download the policy briefing below.