ONS release care statistics during Carers Week

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  • Author: Statistics Views and Office for National Statistics
  • Date: 11 June 2013
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of iStock Photo

The Office for National Statistics has released statistics from the 2011 Census based on the age and circumstances of the six million people in the UK who provide unpaid care for an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend.

thumbnail image: ONS release care statistics during Carers Week

Carers Week is a UK annual awareness campaign, which aims to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for. In 2011, females were notably more likely to be unpaid carers than males; 57.7 per cent of unpaid carers were females and 42.3 per cent were males in England and Wales.Across English regions and Wales, females also took on a higher share of the unpaid care burden than males in a similar proportion, regardless of the amount of unpaid care the region’s usually resident population provided (Office for National Statistics release).

The share of unpaid care provision fell most heavily on women aged 50-64; but the gender inequality diminished among retired people, with men slightly more likely to be providing care than women.

What is significant are the statistics on the general health of the unpaid carers themselves. Their health deteriorated incrementally with increasing levels of unpaid care provided, up to the age of 65; the burden of providing 50 hours or more unpaid care per week appears to have the greatest impact on the general health of young carers in the age group 0-24. In 0-24 yr olds, 2% of males & 3% of females provide 1 or more hrs unpaid care per week.

In 2011 in England, 116,801 men (1.0 per cent) and 81,812 women (1.2 per cent) were in full-time employment whilst at the same time providing 50 hours or more unpaid care; in Wales the equivalent numbers were 9,320 (1.6 per cent) and 5,068 (1.8 per cent) respectively.

Economically active women in both full-time and part-time employment provided a greater share of the unpaid care burden than men; in England 12.1 per cent of women working full-time provided unpaid care, and in Wales it was 15.3 per cent
Approximately half of men who were ‘Looking after the home or family’ provided some extent of unpaid care, with the majority providing 50 hours or more.

From 2001 to 2011, unpaid care increased across all regions in the UK, especially in southern regions and London.

A uniform pattern of deteriorating general health combined with rising levels of unpaid care provision is very evident from this latest release and covers all economic positions; men and women working full-time in both England and in Wales and providing 50 hours or more unpaid care per week were between 2.4 and 3.2 times more likely to report their general health as ‘Not Good’ compared with those providing no unpaid care.

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