Statistics on Family Caregivers and Family Caregiving
More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.
The value of the services family caregivers provide for "free," when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year. That is almost twice as much as is actually spent on homecare and nursing home services combined ($158 billion).
The typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for her widowed 69-year-old mother who does not live with her. She is married and employed. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. More than 37% have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them.
1.4 million children ages 8 to 18 provide care for an adult relative;72% are caring for a parent or grandparent; and 64% live in the same household as their care recipient. Fortunately, most are not the sole caregiver.
20 hours per week is the average number of hours family caregivers spend caring for their loved ones while 13% of family caregivers are providing 40 hours of care a week or more.
Family caregivers are the foundation of long-term care nationwide exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states.
51% of care recipients live in their own home, 29% live with their family caregiver, and 4% live in nursing homes and assisted living.
36% of family caregivers care for a parent and 7 out of 10 caregivers are caring for loved ones over 50 years old.
14% of family caregivers care for a special needs child with an estimated 16.8 million caring for special needs children under 18 years old. 55% of these caregivers are caring for their own children.
78% of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help.
Economics of Caregiving
Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and five times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Caregiving families (families in which one member has a disability) have median incomes that are more than 15% lower than non-caregiving families. In every state and DC the poverty rate is higher among families with members with a disability than among families without.
During the 2009 economic downturn, 1 in 5 family caregivers had to move into the same home with their loved ones to cut expenses.
47% of working caregivers indicate an increase in caregiving expenses has caused them to use up ALL or MOST of their savings.
The average family caregiver for someone 50 years or older spends $5,531 per year on out of pocket caregiving expenses in 2007 which was more than 10% of the median income for a family caregiver that year.
Impact on Family Caregiver's Health
23% of family caregivers caring for loved ones for 5 years or more report their health is fair or poor.
Stress of family caregiving for persons with dementia has been shown to impact a person's immune system for up to three years after their caregiving ends thus increasing their chances of developing a chronic illness themselves.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities.
20% of employed female caregivers over 50 years old report symptoms of depression compared to 8% of their non-caregiving peers.
40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression.
More than 1 in 10 (11%) of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate.
A wife's hospitalization increased her husband's chances of dying within a month by 35%. A husband's hospitalization boosted his wife's mortality risk by 44%.
Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver's life.
Caregiving and Work
Six in 10 family caregivers are employed.
73% of family caregivers who care for someone over the age of 18 either work or have worked while providing care; 66% have had to make some adjustments to their work life, from reporting late to work to giving up work entirely; and 1 in 5 family caregivers have had to take a leave of absence.
64% of working parents caring for a special needs child believe that caregiving responsibility has negatively impacted their work performance.
American businesses can lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees' need to care for loved ones 50 years of age and older.
Caregivers caring for elderly loved ones cost employers 8% more in health care costs estimated to be worth $13.4 billion per year.
Over 65% of employers believe that health benefits improve employees' health. Sixty percent (60%) believe it increases moral and 39% believe it increases productivity.
Caregiving and Health Care
Up to 70% of family caregivers manage medications for their loved ones.
22% of family caregivers say they need help communicating with physicians.
Focus group research suggests that family caregivers do not recognize that public policy has a direct impact on their day-to-day lives. Many are uncomfortable even thinking there might be a connection.
Over 90% of family caregivers become more proactive about seeking resources and skills they need to assist their care recipient after they have self-identified.
83% of self-identified family caregivers believe their self-awareness led to increased confidence when talking to healthcare professionals about their loved one's care.
For over 75% of family caregivers it was the act of helping their loved one with personal care that contributed to their self-identification.
For 60% of family caregivers, their loved one's diagnosis and their interaction with the health care system made them aware that they were family caregivers.
State by State Statistics
The economic value of family caregiving is detailed here in a state-by-state comparison of the number of family caregivers in the country, the number of hours they spend on caregiving responsibilities, and the market value of those services. As noted above the most recent estimate of the value of family caregivers' services is $306 billion annually. This report is based on the state-by-state statistics for 2004 and prepared in August of 2006 by NFCA and the Family Caregiver Alliance's National Center of Caregiving in conjunction with Peter S. Arno, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The data and methodology are based on Dr. Arno's previous study, Economic Value of Informal Caregiving: 2004.
Click here to download a PDF of NFCA's state-by-state-profile of family caregiving in alphabetical order.
Click here to download a PDF of NFCA's state-by-state-profile of family caregiving in rank with the largest caregiving population first.
Click here to download Peter Arno's PowerPoint on the Economic Value if Informal Caregiving.
Note: Survey statistics sometimes seem to contradict each other. That's because each study or survey has its own methodology, its own set of variables, data sources, etc. It doesn't mean one is right and the other wrong. It does mean you need to understand how the survey was developed and constructed. Comparing Survey Stats and Understanding Why They Differ explains this in more detail.