Carers – the National Statistical Profile
The National Experience
Data from the most recently published Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey on Disability, Ageing and Carers (2015)4 shows that:
More than one in eight Australian (2.7 million people) were estimated to be providing care to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic conditions, terminal illness and the frail aged.5
Since 2010, there has been an increase in the number of primary carers (those who have the main role in providing formal care) and a decrease in the number of non primary carers6.
Research by Access Economics7 explored the economic value provided by carers and found that:
- Carers in Australia provided an estimated total of 1.9 billion hours of care in 2015, which equates to each carer providing roughly 13 hours per week. This is a considerable increase from the 2010 total of 1.32 billion hours of care.
- Almost 40% of primary carers spend more than 40 hours caring each week8.
- If informal carers were to be replaced by carers employed by the formal sector, it would cost an estimated $31.36 per carer, per hour9.
- If all hours of care in 2015 were replaced with formal care providers, the replacement value would be $60.3 billion10 (an increase on the 2010 value of $40.9 billion) which is equivalent to 3.8 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product or 60 per cent of the health and social work industry.
- Carers, particularly primary carers, are more likely to live in low-income households and to have lower rates of fulltime employment – almost one quarter of primary carers reported a decrease in their income as a result of their caring role11.
- 55.5% of carers are women (most commonly aged between 25 and 64 years)1
- 10.1% of carers are under the age of 25 years13
- Over 32% of carers have a disability themselves14
- More than one-quarter of all carers are of prime working age (aged 25 to 44 years old)15
- The median gross income for a carer per week is $575 which is $192 less than the median for noncarers ($767 per week)16
- 31.3% of carers aged 15 years and over are employed fulltime, compared with 43.9% of non-carers aged 15 years and over. This includes people 65 and over17
- 22.9% of carers are 65 years or older18
4 ABS (2015) Disability, Ageing and Carers Australia; Summary of Findings Data Cube 44300do030.
6 Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015. p (ii)
7 Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015. p (iii)
8 Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015. p 6
9 Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015. p 14
11 Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015. p 8-10
12 ABS(2015) Disability, Ageing and Carers Australia, Summary of Findings Data Cube 44300do030