Here we detail the key facts about the range of people who are carers, the impact on carers' finances and health, and statistics about carers across the UK and its individual nations.
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
- 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.
- Only half of young carers have a particular person in school who recognises that they are a carer and helps them.
- Young carers responding to a survey missed or cut short many school days every year. The average was 48 school days missed or cut short because of their caring role.
- Many services are only funded to work with young carers up to the age of 18. In a survey, 79% of young carers said they were worried about moving on as they felt there was no support for them.
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).
- Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged 16–25.
- 56% of young adult carers in college or university were struggling because of their caring role. 17% said they may have to drop out for reasons associated with their caring role and 13% said that they may have to drop out for financial reasons. Young adult carers appear to be four times more likely to have to drop out of their college or university course than other students.
- 45% of young adult carers reported that they have mental health problems.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adult carers in Scotland reported extremely high levels of bullying. 83% had personally experienced bullying in school, 40% in college and 27% at university. 88% reported to have, or to have had, mental health problems.
- 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
- There are around 5,430,016 carers in England.
- There are around 759,000 carers aged 16+ in Scotland - 17% of the adult population.
- 370,230 people are carers in Wales.
- 213,980 people are carers in Northern Ireland.