JOURNAL ARTICLE

Informal caring in England and Wales—Stability and transition between 2001 and 2011

James Robards, Athina Vlachantoni, Maria Evandrou, Jane Falkingham
Advances in Life Course Research 2015, 24: 21-33
26047987
Informal caring is of significant and increasing importance in the context of an ageing population, growing pressures on public finances, and increasing life expectancy at older ages. A growing body of research has examined the characteristics associated with informal care provision, as well as the impact of caring for the carer's physical and mental health, and their economic activity. However, only a relatively small body of literature has focused on the study of 'repeat' or continuous caring over time, and the factors associated with such trajectories. In 2001, for the first time, the United Kingdom census asked about provision of informal care, enabling identification of the prevalence of informal caregiving at a national level. This paper follows up informal carers from the 2001 Census in order to examine their characteristics and circumstances 10 years later using a nationally representative 1% sample of linked census data for England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study. The analysis classifies the range of possible combinations of caring and non-caring roles between 2001 and 2011, focusing on the characteristics of those who were providing care at one, or both, time points. Among other results, the analysis identified that, among those who were carers in 2001, caring again in, or continuing to care until, 2011 was associated with being female, aged between 45 and 54 years in 2011, looking after the home, and providing care for 50 hours or more per week in 2001. Such results contribute to our understanding of a particular group of informal carers and provide a more nuanced picture of informal care provision at different stages of the life course.

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