4436.0 - Caring in the Community, Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/06/2014   
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25 June 2014
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Time spent caring for others on the rise

In Australia, 12 per cent of people provide informal care to an older person or to someone with a disability or long-term health condition, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“We found there were 2.7 million people providing informal care in 2012," said Sarah March from the ABS, "and around 29 per cent of these carers are primary carers."

"The proportion of primary carers who were spending 40 hours a week or more providing care has also increased.

"At our last survey in 2009, 35 per cent of primary carers were spending 40 hours a week or more providing care, for 2012, this has increased to 39 per cent, or about two in five.

"We also found that one in five primary carers spent between 20 and 40 hours per week and almost two in five spent less than 20 hours per week." said Ms March.

Women were both more likely to be carers, and more likely to be primary carers.

The ABS found that there were 1.5 million female carers, and of these 536,700 were primary carers, compared to 1.2 million male carers and 233,100 male primary carers.

“Carers provide an important service to the community, and our survey found that caring duties can impact on their social life, health and wellbeing.

"About half the primary carers reported they had experienced feeling weary, often feeling angry, resentful, worried, depressed, and/or having a stress-related illness as a result of their caring role," said Ms March.

Carers were also less likely to be participating in the labour force (56 per cent) than those who do not have caring responsibilities (69 per cent).

Young people - between 15 and 24 - with a caring role were almost twice as likely to be unemployed than others without a caring role of the same age.

Further information is available in Caring in the Community, 2012 (cat. no. 4436.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media notes:

  • A primary carer is the person aged 15 years and over who provides the most informal assistance with core activities (communication, mobility and self-care) to a person with a disability or to a person aged 65 years or over.
  • When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.