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Senior Citizen Longevity & Statistics

Survey Finds 16% of Americans - Mostly Women - Providing Eldercare in 2011

Among findings by Bureau of Labor – oldest spend most time on leisure or sports and religion; least on education

July 9, 2012 - In 2011, 16 percent of the U.S. civilian non-institutional population age 15 and over were eldercare providers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. This and other information about eldercare providers and the time they spent providing care were collected for the first time in the 2011 American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

This release also includes the average amount of time per day in 2011 that individuals spent in various activities, such as working, household activities, childcare, and leisure and sports activities.

Eldercare in 2011

   ● Of the 39.8 million eldercare providers in the civilian non-institutional population, the majority (56 percent) were women.
   Eldercare providers are those who provided unpaid care to someone over the age of 65 who needed help because of a condition related to aging. (See table 13.)

   ● Individuals ages 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 were the most likely to provide eldercare (23 and 22 percent, respectively), followed by those age 65 and over (16 percent). (See table 13.)

Average hours per day spent in selected primary activities, 2011

Age Group

Educational

Religious

Leisure  
& Sports

Men, 15 years up

.49

.30

5.55

  15 to 19 years

3.23

.31

6.77

  20 to 24 years

1.03

.32

5.71

  25 to 34 years

.45

.15

4.51

  35 to 44 years

.12

.33

4.51

  45 to 54 years

(3)

.28

4.97

  55 to 64 years

~0

.31

5.82

  65 to 74 years

~0

.33

7.21

  75 years up

(3)

.60

7.96

 

 

 

 

Women, 15 years up

.45

.40

4.89

  15 to 19 years

3.44

.33

5.14

  20 to 24 years

.93

.32

4.45

  25 to 34 years

.28

.33

3.98

  35 to 44 years

.14

.32

3.95

  45 to 54 years

.11

.40

4.41

  55 to 64 years

.04

.40

5.30

  65 to 74 years

~0

.59

6.63

  75 years up

~0

.65

7.00

(3) Estimates include a small amount

~0  Estimate is approximately zero.

   ● Sixty-nine percent of eldercare providers cared for only one person in 2011. (See table 14.)

   ● Forty-two percent of eldercare providers cared for a parent. (See table 14.)

   ● Twenty-three percent of eldercare providers were parents of 1 or more household children under age 18. (See table 14.)

   ● On average, 24 percent of eldercare providers cared for at least 1eldercare recipient per day. Eldercare can involve a range of care activities, such as assisting with grooming, preparing meals, and providing transportation. Eldercare also can involve providing companionship or being available to assist when help is needed, and thus eldercare can be associated with nearly any activity. (See table15.)

   ● On days they provided eldercare, persons spent an average of 3.1 hours providing this care. Just over half of this time was associated with leisure activities (1.0 hour) and household activities (42 minutes). (See table 16. Unlike estimates elsewhere in this release, major activity categories do not include related travel time.)

Leisure Activities in 2011

   ● On an average day, adults age 75 and over spent 7.4 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities--more than any other age group; 25-to 44-year-olds spent 4.2 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities--less than other age groups. (See table 11.)

   ● Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a computer for leisure varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and over averaged 58 minutes of reading per weekend day and 21 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 7 minutes per weekend day while spending 1.2 hours playing games or using a computer for leisure. (See table 11.)

Technical Note

   The estimates in this release are based on annual average data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). The ATUS, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is a continuous survey about how individuals age 15 and over spend their time.

Survey methodology

   Data collection for the ATUS began in January 2003. Sample cases for the survey are selected monthly, and interviews are conducted continuously throughout the year. In 2011, approximately 12,500individuals were interviewed. Estimates are released annually.

   ATUS sample households are chosen from the households that completed their eighth (final) interview for the Current Population Survey (CPS), the nation’s monthly household labor force survey. ATUS sample households are selected to ensure that estimates will be nationally representative.

   One individual age 15 or over is randomly chosen from each sampled household. This "designated person" is interviewed by telephone once about his or her activities on the day before the interview--the "diary day."

   All ATUS interviews are conducted using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing. Procedures are in place to collect information from the small number of households that did not provide a telephone number during the CPS interview.

Eldercare concepts and definitions

   ● Eldercare is providing unpaid care or assistance to an individual who needed help because of a condition related to aging. This care can be provided by a family member or non-family member. Care can be provided in the recipient’s home, the provider’s home, or a care facility, such as in a nursing home.

   ● Eldercare can involve a range of care activities, such as assisting with grooming and feeding, preparing meals, arranging medical care, and providing transportation. Eldercare also can involve providing companionship or being available to assist when help is needed, and thus it can be associated with nearly any activity.

   ● Estimates of the time spent providing eldercare are derived by summing the durations of activities during which respondents provided care or assistance for an adult who needed help because of a condition related to aging. These estimates never include times the respondent reported Personal care activities or Personal care services.

   ● Eldercare provider is an individual who provided eldercare more than one time in the 3 to 4 months prior to the interview day. The timeframe varies slightly by respondent because the question asks about care provided between the first day of a given reference month and the interview day. Estimates are restricted to eldercare providers caring for at least one person age 65 or older.

   ● Personal care activities. Personal care activities include sleeping, grooming (such as bathing or dressing), health-related self-care, and personal or private activities. Receiving unpaid personal care from others (for example, "my sister put polish on my nails") also is captured in this category. In general, respondents are not asked who they were with or where they were for personal care activities, as such information can be sensitive.

Links to Tables, Data

American Time Use Survey Technical Note

Table 1. Time spent in primary activities (1) and percent of the civilian population engaging in each activity, averages per day by sex, 2011 annual averages

Table 2. Time spent in primary activities (1) and percent of the civilian population engaging in each activity, averages per day on weekdays and weekends, 2011 annual averages

Table 3. Time spent in primary activities (1) for the civilian population by age, sex, race, Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, marital status, and educational attainment, 2011 annual averages

Table 4. Employed persons working and time spent working on days worked by full- and part-time status and sex, jobholding status, educational attainment, and day of week, 2011 annual averages

Table 5. Employed persons working on main job and time spent working on days worked by class of worker, occupation, earnings, and day of week, 2011 annual averages

Table 6. Employed persons working (1) at home and at their workplace and time spent working at each location by full- and part-time status and sex, jobholding status, and educational attainment, 2011 annual averages

Table 7. Employed persons working on main job (1) at home and at their workplace and time spent working at each location by class of worker, occupation, and earnings, 2011 annual averages

Table 8. Time spent in primary activities (1) for the civilian population 18 years and over by employment status, presence and age of youngest household child, and sex, 2011 annual averages

Table 9. Time spent caring for household children under 18 by sex of adult (1) and age of youngest child by day of week, average for the combined years 2005-11

Table 10. Time spent providing secondary childcare for household children under 13 by sex of adult (1) and age of youngest child by day of week, average for the combined years 2005-11

Table 11. Time spent in leisure and sports activities for the civilian population by selected characteristics, 2011 annual averages

Table 12. Average hours per day spent in primary activities (1) for the civilian population, 2011 quarterly and annual averages

Table 13. Number and percent of the U.S. population and various subpopulations who were eldercare providers (1) by sex, 2011 annual averages

Table 14. Number and percent of eldercare providers (1) by sex and selected characteristics, 2011 annual averages

Table 15. Percent of eldercare providers (1) who provided care and the time they provided this care by day of week and selected characteristics, 2011 annual averages

Table 16. Time spent providing eldercare and percent of the eldercare provider (1) population engaging in various caregiving activities by sex, 2011 annual averages

>> The 2011 data files are available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/tus/data.htm.

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