- The most recent Census 2021 puts the estimated number of unpaid carers at 5 million in England and Wales. This, together with ONS Census data for Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggests that the number of unpaid carers across the UK is 5.7 million.
- This means that around 9% of people are providing unpaid care. However, Carers UK research in 2022 estimates the number of unpaid carers could be as high as 10.6 million (Carers UK, Carers Week 2022 research report).
- 4.7% of the population in England and Wales are providing 20 hours or more of care a week.
- Every year, 4.3 million people became unpaid carers – 12,000 people a day (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022).
- 59% of unpaid carers are women (Census 2021). Women are more likely to become carers and to provide more hours of unpaid care than men. More women than men provide high intensity care at ages when they would expect to be in paid work (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022)
- One in seven carers in the UK are juggling work and care (Carers UK, Juggling Work and Care, 2019).
- Between 2010-2020, people aged 46-65 were the largest age group to become unpaid carers. 41% of people who became unpaid carers were in this age group (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022).
- With the current cost of living crisis, carers are facing unprecedented pressure on their finances: a quarter of carers (25%) are cutting back on essentials like food or hearing and 63% are extremely worried about managing their monthly costs (Carers UK, State of Caring 2022).
- Caring comes with additional costs that can have a significant impact on carers’ finances and many carers suffer financial hardship. 44% of working-age adults who are caring for 35 hours or more a week are in poverty. (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UK Poverty 2022).
- Carer's Allowance is the main carer's benefit and is £76.75 per week (2023/24) for a minimum of 35 hours. It is the lowest benefit of its kind. In the UK, 977,506 carers were in receipt of Carer’s Allowance in 2022 (X-Stat Explore (retrieved in Feb 2022).
- Caring can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing. 60% of carers report a long-term health condition or disability compared to 50% non-carers (Carers UK analysis of GP Patient Survey 2021).
- Over a quarter of carers (29%) feel lonely often or always (Carers UK, State of Caring 2022).
- There is increasing evidence that caring should be considered a social determinant of health (Public Health England, Caring as a Social Determinant of Health, 2021).
- On average, 600 people a day leave work to care – with over 500,000 people leaving work to provide unpaid care pre-pandemic (Carers UK, Juggling Work and Care).
- 75% of carers in employment worry about continuing to juggle work and care (Carers UK, State of Caring 2022).
- 1 in 3 NHS staff provide unpaid care (NHS staff survey, 2022).
- Between 2010 and 2020, more than 1.9 million people in paid employment became unpaid carers every year (Petrillo and Bennett, 2022)
- Black, Asian and ethnic minority carers are more likely to be struggling financially. At the beginning of the pandemic, over half (58%) of unpaid carers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups said they were worried about their finances, compared to 37% of White carers (Carers UK, The Experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic carers during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022).
- LGBT carers are more likely to more likely to feel lonely. 48% of bisexual carers and 45% of lesbian and gay carers often or always feel lonely, compared with 33% of heterosexual carers (Carers UK, The Experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual carers during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022).
- 27% of carers who completed our State of Caring survey in 2022 said they had a disability.
- Unpaid carers in England and Wales contribute a staggering £445 million to the economy every day – that’s £162 billion per year (Petrillo and Bennett, 2023).
- The value of unpaid care is equivalent to a second NHS in England and Wales, which in 2020/21 received an estimated £164 billion in funding (Petrillo and Bennett, 2023).
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