The Census 2011 reveals a major rise in numbers of unpaid family carers
Census data released by the government in December 2012 revealed that in 2011 10% (5.8 million) of people in England and Wales provided unpaid care for someone with an illness or disability.
The number of carers has risen substantially in the last decade - increasing from 5.2 million to 5.8 million in England and Wales between 2001 and 2011.
The greatest rise has been among those providing over 20 hours care – the point at which caring starts to significantly impact on the health and wellbeing of the carer, and their ability to hold down paid employment alongside their caring responsibilities.
Across England and Wales there are now a staggering 2.1 million people providing over 20 hours a week - a rise of almost half a million people in the last 10 years.
Those providing the most number of hours of care – over 50 hours a week and very often caring round-the-clock - has in itself risen by 270,000 and is up from 1,088,000 to 1,360,000.
Carers in Sunderland
In Sunderland there has also been an increase in the number of carers - from 31,864 to 32,531.
Of these 9,621 people provide 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week.
The gender gap in unpaid care provision
On 16th May 2013 the Office for National Statistics released more data from the Census 2011 and published a short report called "The gender gap in unpaid care provision: is there an impact on health and economic position?". The key points are listed below:
• 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 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
• 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
• The general health of unpaid carers 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
• In 2011 in England, 116,801 men (1.0 per cent) and 81,812 women (1.2 per cent) were in fulltime
employment while 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
• A uniform pattern of deteriorating general health with rising levels of unpaid care provision was
present across 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
Click here to view the full report