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.
  • 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. 


  • 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. 


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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