Unpaid Eldercare in the United States-—2013-14 Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, September 23, 2015                         USDL-15-1851

Technical information:   (202) 691-6339  •  atusinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/tus
Media contact:           (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov


                   UNPAID ELDERCARE IN THE UNITED STATES--2013-14
                       DATA FROM THE AMERICAN TIME USE SURVEY


Sixteen percent (40.4 million) of the civilian noninstitutional population age 15 and over 
provide unpaid eldercare, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Of the 40.4 
million eldercare providers, a majority are employed (61 percent) and nearly one-half are 
employed full time (47 percent). These estimates are averages for the 2-year period of 
2013-14; combining the 2 years of data facilitates a more in-depth analysis of eldercare.

Eldercare providers are defined as individuals who provide unpaid care to someone age 65 or 
older who needs help because of a condition related to aging. This care can be provided to 
household or nonhousehold members, as well as persons living in retirement homes or assisted 
care facilities. Eldercare can involve a range of care activities, such as assisting with 
grooming, preparing meals, and providing transportation. Eldercare also can involve providing 
companionship or being available to assist when help is needed, and thus it can be associated 
with nearly any activity.

Information about eldercare providers and the time they spend providing care were collected 
as part of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). The ATUS is a continuous household survey 
that provides estimates on how people spend their time. For a description of ATUS data, 
concepts, and methodology, see the Technical Note.

Eldercare providers in 2013-14

•  Of the 40.4 million eldercare providers in the civilian noninstitutional population age 
   15 and over, the majority (57 percent) were women. (See table 1.)

•  Individuals whose ages were 45 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare (23 percent),
   followed by those age 65 and over (17 percent). (See table 1.)

•  Nearly one-half of eldercare providers had provided care for 2 years or less, while 15 
   percent had provided care for 10 years or more. (See table 2.)

•  The majority (70 percent) of eldercare providers cared for only one person. Twenty-two 
   percent of eldercare providers cared for two persons, and 7 percent cared for three or 
   more persons. (See table 2.)

•  Eighty-three percent of eldercare providers cared only for persons with whom they did not 
   live. (See table 2.)

•  Twenty-two percent of all eldercare providers were parents with children under age 18 living 
   with them. (See table 2.)

•  Over half of eldercare providers ages 15 to 34 cared for a grandparent, while the majority 
   of providers ages 35 to 64 cared for a parent. Providers ages 65 and over were more likely 
   than those in other age groups to care for a friend or neighbor. (See table 3.) 

Time spent providing eldercare in 2013-14

•  On a given day, nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of eldercare providers engaged in eldercare. 
   Eldercare providers who were ages 65 and older were the most likely to provide care on a 
   given day. (See table 4.)

•  There were 6.3 million eldercare providers who cared solely for someone with whom they lived. 
   On average over all days--including days they did and did not provide care--these providers 
   spent 2.8 hours per day providing care. (See table 4.)

•  Eldercare providers who cared for a spouse or unmarried partner spent an average of 4.0 
   hours per day providing eldercare (includes days they did and did not provide care). 
   (See table 4.)

•  On days they provided eldercare, persons spent an average of 3.2 hours in caregiving 
   activities. Providers ages 65 and over spent the most time providing eldercare (4.4 hours), 
   and providers ages 15 to 24 spent the least amount of time (1.1 hours). (See table 4.)

•  On weekend days they provided care, eldercare providers spent an average of 3.6 hours 
   doing so. This compares to an average of 3.0 hours for those who provided care on weekdays. 
   (See table 4.)

•  On days they provided eldercare, women spent more time providing this care than did men 
   (3.5 hours compared with 2.7 hours). (See table 5.)

Eldercare activities in 2013-14

•  On days they provided care, 39 percent of eldercare providers engaged in caregiving associated 
   with household activities, spending on average 40 minutes per day in these activities. This 
   includes 28 percent of providers who engaged in eldercare associated with food preparation and 
   cleanup and 12 percent who provided eldercare associated with housework. (See table 5.) 

•  Thirty-two percent of eldercare providers engaged in caregiving associated with leisure and 
   sports on days they provided care, spending 1.1 hours per day in these activities. This includes 
   20 percent of eldercare providers who engaged in eldercare associated with socializing and 
   communicating and 13 percent who provided care while watching TV. (See table 5.)

•  Women were more likely than men to provide eldercare associated with household activities on 
   days they provided care (41 percent compared with 35 percent), whereas women and men were about 
   equally likely to provide eldercare associated with leisure and sports (33 percent and 30 percent, 
   respectively). (See table 5.)

Eldercare providers who were parents of household children under age 18 in 2013-14

•  There were 8.7 million eldercare providers whose children lived with them. Of these parents, 
   nearly one-third (32 percent) had a child under age 6, and the remainder (69 percent) were 
   parents whose youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 17. (See table 9.) 

•  One-half (50 percent) of eldercare providers who were parents of children under the age of 18 
   provided care for their own parent. These persons sometimes are described as members of the 
   “sandwich generation” because they are in between two generations that require care. (See 
   table 9.)

•  Most (78 percent) eldercare providers who were parents were employed, and 63 percent were 
   employed full time. Eighty-five percent of fathers were employed full time, compared with 45 
   percent of mothers. (See table 9.)  

•  Sixteen percent of eldercare providers who were parents had no spouse or unmarried partner 
   present in the household. (See table 9.) 

•  Eldercare providers who were parents were less likely to provide daily care than the overall 
   population of eldercare providers (12 percent compared with 21 percent). (See tables 2 and 9.)



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Last Modified Date: July 15, 2016