Women provide the majority of informal care for their family and friends(i). Largely because of caregiving responsibilities, women are more likely than men to work part-time, spend more years out of the labor force, and in general have shorter careers. Informal caregiving can significantly affect their retirement income.(ii)
- About 3 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult age 65 or older.(iii) More than half of caregivers are women.(iv)
- The value of informal caregiver services has steadily increased from an estimated economic value of $375 billion in 2007 to $470 billion in 2013.(v)
- The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for an elderly mother while working at least part-time.
- More than two in five caregivers are age 55 or older and one in five is 65 or older.(vi)
- Caregivers spend 4 hours a week providing care, on average. Nearly one-quarter provide 41 or more hours of care a week.(vii)
- The longer a caregiver provides care, the more likely they feel financial strain.(viii)
- Women remain twice as likely as men to work part time and they take 9 years off over their working lives in large part to care for family members. (ix) (x)
- Evidence suggests that nearly one in three working women who also provide intensive caregiving, increase their odds of retiring earlier than planned due to their caregiving responsibilities.(xi) This has a significant impact on their retirement income.
- Estimates show that women age 50 and older who leave the workforce to care for a parent lose, on average, nearly $324,004 in wages and benefits over their lifetime.(xii) Additionally, caregivers pay roughly $7,000 in out-of-pocket costs each year for the person to whom they provide care.(xiii)
- Women who are family caregivers are 5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and five times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).(xiv)
i U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release September 2017, “Unpaid Eldercare in the United States—2015-16. (USDL-17-1292) ” See Table 1 data from the American Time Use Survey.
ii J.C. Jacobs, C.H. Van Houtven, A. Laporte, and P.C. Coyte, The Impact of Informal Caregiving Intensity on Women’s Retirement in the United States, Working Paper 2014-09 (Toronto, Canada: Canadian Center for Health Economics, April 2014).
iii U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release September 2017, “Unpaid Eldercare in the United States—2015-16. (USDL-17-1292) ” See Table 1 data from the American Time Use Survey.
v AARP Pubic Policy Institute. “Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update.”
viiiNational Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.
ix Pew Research Center, (2013). Social and Demographic Trends.
xU.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “American Time Use Survey 2015-16” (USDL-17-1292) data from Table 1 show that more than 13,000 women who are eldercare providers are employed. One-third of these women work part time. In contrast, of the over 12,000 men who are eldercare providers, only one-fifth work part time.
xi xi J.C. Jacobs, C.H. Van Houtven, A. Laporte, and P.C. Coyte, The Impact of Informal Caregiving Intensity on Women’s Retirement in the United States, Working Paper 2014-09 (Toronto, Canada: Canadian Center for Health Economics, April 2014).
xii MetLife Mature Market Institute, (2011). The MetLife Study of Caregiving: Costs to Work Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring For Their Parents.
xiii AARP research. “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report.”
xiv Donato and Wakabayashi, Rice University (2004). The Consequences of Caregiving for Economic Well-Being in Women’s Later Life.