In the year prior to this study, an estimated 65.7 million people in the U.S. had served as an unpaid caregiver for an adult or child, and, the number of caregivers did not change significantly between 2004 and 2009. The purpose of this study, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, is to profile caregivers today and compare them to caregivers in the past. Researchers based their findings on interviews with 1,480 family caregivers 18 years or older who provided unpaid care to an adult or a child with special needs.
The report focuses on the third wave of a three-part study conducted in 1997, 2004 and 2009. The report from 2009 emphasizes the use of the Internet for information, what public policies would support caregivers, and the use of technology in caregiving. Areas examined in the study include the prevalence of caregivers in the U.S., demographic characteristics of caregivers and care recipients, and how caregivers are affected by their role at work, at home, and in their health situation.
Other report highlights include:
- The majority of caregivers are female (66 percent).
- Between 2004 and 2009, the average age of caregivers increased from 46.4 to 49.3 years of age. This shift is due to an increase of older caregivers age 50 to 64 and a decline in the number of younger caregivers.
- Caregiving impacts roughly one-third of all U.S. households.
- More people are looking for caregiving information than ever before (nearly 77 percent on at least one topic). Most are looking on the Internet for that information.
How to Use
The report provides a high-level of statistical information regarding the demographic profile of caregivers in the U.S. and the trends affecting this group such as changes in communication. Policymakers can use this report to gain a better understanding of caregivers and, in turn, implement policies that will foster the growth of caregiver groups in the U.S
View full report: Caregiving in the U.S. — NAC and AARP — 2009 (PDF — 4.9 MB)