Carers across the UK

  • There are around seven million carers in the UK  – that is one in ten people. This is rising.
  • Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK. 
  • Out of the UK’s carers, 42% of carers are men and 58% are women.  
  • The economic value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is £132bn a year.  
  • By 2030, the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60%).  

Young carers across the UK

  • 13,000 of the UK’s young carers care for over 50 hours a week.
  • Following a survey in 2010, the BBC estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK.
  • 68% of young carers are bullied in schools.
  • Over 39% of young carers had not informed their teacher or any member of staff that they were a young carer.
  • 27% of young carers (aged 11–15) miss school or experience educational difficulties.  

Young adult carers across the UK

  • Young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET).
  • There are estimated to be at least 350,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25.
  • There are 229,318 young adult carers aged 18–24 in the UK – 5.3% of all people in that age group. 
  • One quarter of all young adult carers in the UK (56,069 people) are providing care for more than 20 hours per week and almost 27,000 of these (12% of the total) are providing care for more than 50 hours each week.
  • As young people grow older they become more heavily involved in caring.

Older carers

  • One in five people aged 50–64 are carers in the UK. 
  • 65% of older carers (aged 60–94) have long-term health problems or a disability themselves. 
  • 68.8% of older carers say that being a carer has an adverse effect on their mental health.
  • One third of older carers say they have cancelled treatment or an operation for themselves because of their caring responsibilities.

Carers caring for someone with mental ill health 

  • Up to 1.5 million people in the UK care for someone with mental ill health.  
  • There are 50,000 children and young people looking after someone with mental ill health in the UK.
  • One in four carers is a mental health carer.
  • Of all the UK’s carers, 11% care for people with dementia.  

Carers caring for someone with a learning disability

  • 14% of carers (approx. 840,000) care for people with learning disabilities including autistic-spectrum conditions.  

Caring and getting and keeping a job

  • There are 4.27 million carers of working age living in the UK; 2.44 million (57%) of these are women and 1.83 million (43%) are men.    
  • The employment rate for carers is at 67% (72% of men and 62% of women); over half of those who are not working say that they want to do so.  
  • Nearly one in eight workers is a carer.
  • One in five carers gives up employment to care. 

How caring affects personal finances

  • In a survey,  53% of carers have borrowed money as a result of their caring role – 61% have borrowed from a friend or relative and 41% have used overdrafts.
  • 60% have used all of their savings to cover the costs of caring.
  • 23% have either re-mortgaged their home or downsized to a smaller property. 

Claiming benefits and caring

  • In a survey, 8% of carers were receiving Disability Living Allowance as a result of their own disability or ill-health.
  • 35% of carers had missed out on state benefits because they didn’t realise they could claim them. 
  • Out of carers surveyed, 9% had missed out on Carer’s Allowance for 3–5 years, 10% for 5–10 years and 14% for over ten years, because they did not realise they were entitled to it.  

Carers’ health and wellbeing

  • In a survey, carers providing more than 50 hours of care per week are twice as likely to report ill-health as those not providing care.
  • Carers providing high levels of care were associated with a 23% higher risk of stroke.
  • 17% of carers who had taken a break of more than a few hours experienced mental ill-health compared to 36% of carers who did not have such a break since beginning their caring role. 

Carers caring for someone with with dementia

  • There are currently 800,000 people living in the UK with dementia.  
  • There are 670,000 unpaid carers of people with dementia in the UK.
  • Two thirds of people with dementia live at home and most are supported by unpaid carers.  

Carers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

England

  • There are 5,430,016 carers in England.
  • 166,363 of the carers in England are children.

Scotland

  • There are around 759,000 carers aged 16+ in Scotland —17% of the adult population.
  • There are 36,821 carers aged under 25 in Scotland.

Wales

  • 370,230 people are carers.
  • 11,000 carers in Wales are children.

Northern Ireland

  • 213,980 people are carers.
  • 30,000 carers in Northern Ireland are children.