Five million people in England and Wales are unpaid carers, census shows

Posted: January 23rd 2023


Some of the most acutely challenged unpaid carers are in rural settings and we now have a clear sense of the scale of the cohort they represent through this information hot off the press from the new census. This story tells us:

Five million people – including children as young as five – provide unpaid care to people with long-term health conditions or problems related to old age, census data for England and Wales has revealed.

With the social care system struggling with rising unmet care demand and about half a million people in England waiting for help, there has been an increase over the past decade in the proportion of people spending at least 20 hours a week on unpaid care, from 4.2% of the population to 4.7%. About 1.5 million people in England and Wales now spend more than 50 hours a week giving unpaid care.

Large minorities of unpaid carers are struggling, and a survey of more than 12,000 carers last year found that a quarter were cutting back on food or heating, a third said their mental health was bad or very bad, and 29% said they often or always felt lonely.