Who cares? Continuity and change in the prevalence of caring, and characteristics of informal carers, in England and Wales 2001- 2011
Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J., Robards, J. & Vlachantoni, A. (2015) CPC Working Papers, 68, Centre for Population Change. 1 August 2015. [ONS LS]
Over the past two decades there has been a growing recognition of the key contribution made to social care by unpaid care provided by family, neighbours and friends. Increases in the proportion of the population aged 75 and over in England and Wales, combined with continuing local authority budget cuts, means that the provision of unpaid care is, and is likely to remain, a key social policy issue. Reflecting the importance of informal caring, the 2001 and 2011 UK Censuses included a question on provision of informal care and the intensity of any care provided. In 2001 5.9 million people were providing informal care; by 2011 this had increased to 6.5 million. This paper presents the first comparative analysis of the prevalence of informal caring in 2001 and 2011 using the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study (LS) to identify the determinants of providing informal care at 2001 and at 2011. This analysis benchmarks the ONS LS results against national level census results before examining the prevalence of informal caring, and the intensity of care provided, by a range of demographic and socio-economic characteristics including gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, housing tenure, economic activity and health. The research investigates the influence of different characteristics at 2001 and 2011 using binary logistic regression models. In so doing we profile a range of characteristics associated with informal caring, and compare 2001 and 2011 side by side for the first time.