More than one in five Americans are caregivers

Grandfather, father and son walking down a road


  • Nearly one in five (19%) are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs.
  • More Americans (24%) are caring for more than one person up from 18% in 2015.
  • More family caregivers (26%) have difficulty coordinating care up from 19% in 2015.
  • Family caregiving spans across all generations, including Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Z, Millennials, and Silent.
  • 61% of family caregivers are also working.

My wife turned caregiver three months ago when her mom, who has bladder cancer, broke her hip. Rather than put her in hospice care she is taking care of her at their home in Michigan. It has been a stressful time for us both but her company has allowed her to take leave at reduced pay.

According. to AARP “family and friends comprise the most basic unit of any society. For individuals who take on the responsibility of caring for another person through sickness or disability, it can often be challenging to see beyond the individual experience. Yet in the aggregate, family caregivers—whether they be families of kin or families of choice—are woven into the fabric of America’s health, social, economic, and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems. As the country continues to age, the need to support caregivers as the cornerstone of society will only become more and more important.”

Compared to 2015, a greater proportion of caregivers of adults are providing care to multiple people now, with 24 percent caring for two or more recipients (up from 18 percent in 2015). This finding, in combination with the increased prevalence of caregiving, suggests a nation of Americans who continue to step up to provide unpaid care to family, friends, and neighbors who might need assistance due to health or functional needs. This increase in prevalence may be due to any of the following:

  • The increasingly aging baby boomer population requiring more care
  • Limitations or workforce shortages in health care or long-term services and supports (LTSS) formal care systems
  • Increased efforts by states to facilitate home- and community-based services
  • Increasing numbers of Americans who are self-identifying that their daily activities, in support of their family members and friends with health or functional limitations, are caregiving.
  • The confluence of all of these trends.

The stress of the pandemic coupled with caregiving can be unbearable. Our healthcare system is in such a mess that we haven’t really addressed the needs of caregivers. Most caregivers, in nursing homes, are immigrants because the work is hard and the pay is low. With the emphasis on curtailing immigration, it’s hard to find a facility that can take good care of our loved ones without putting caregivers ink the poor house.