Key facts about carers

Carers across the UK

  • There are almost seven million carers in the UK  – that is one in ten people. This is rising.
  • Every year in the UK, over 2.1 million adults become carers and over 2.1 million adults stop being carers. 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 £119bn per year.  
  • Over the next 30 years, the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60%).  
  • The number of people over 85 in the UK, the age group most likely to need care, is expected to increase by over 50% to 1.9 million over the next decade.   

Young carers and young adult carers

  • 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. 
  • Young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET). 
  • In total there are 290,369 carers in the UK who are aged 16–24. 

Older carers

  • In England and Wales, 1,277,693 people over 65 are carers. 
  • 65% of older carers (aged 60–94) have long-term health problems or a disability themselves. 

Mental health 

  • Up to 1.5 million people in the UK care for someone with a mental health problem.  

Learning disabilities

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

Substance misuse

  • At the very least, nearly 1.5 million adults in the UK are affected by a relative’s drug use. 

Employment

  • 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.  
  • £5.3bn has been wiped from the economy in lost earnings due to people who've dropped out of the workforce to take on caring responsibilities. 
  • One in five carers gives up employment to care. 

Finance

  • In an online survey of 800 carers conducted by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in July 2010  53% have borrowed money as a result of their caring role – 61% have borrowed from a friend or relative and 41% have used overdrafts.

Benefits

  • Out of carers surveyed, 35% of carers had missed out on state benefits because they didn’t realise they could claim them.  

Health and wellbeing

  • A four year study of 392 carers and 427 non-carers aged 66–92 found that carers who were reporting feelings of strain had a 63% higher likelihood of death in that period than non-carers or carers not reporting strain.
Dementia
  • There are currently 800,000 people living in the UK with dementia.  
  • 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.

For more information contact the press team