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Prevalence of Child Caregivers

• Nationwide, there are approximately 1.3 to 1.4 million child caregivers who are between the ages of 8 and 18. This number is more than the total of students in grades 3-12 in New York City, Chicago, and the District of Columbia.

• Of the 28.4 million households that have a child 8 to 18 years of age living there, 3.2%, or 906,000 households, include a child caregiver.

Caregiver Characteristics

• Three in ten child caregivers are ages 8 to 11 (31%), and 38% are ages 12 to 15. The remaining 31% are ages 16 to 18.

• Child caregivers are evenly balanced by gender (male 49%, female 51%).

• Caregivers tend to live in households with lower incomes than do non-caregivers, and they are less likely than non-caregivers to have two-parent households (76% vs. 85%).

Care Recipient Characteristics

• Seven in ten child caregivers are caring for a parent or grandparent (72%). Of these, the care recipient is their mother (28%) or grandmother (31%). One in ten child caregivers is helping a sibling (11%). Caregivers in minority households are more likely to be caring for their mother (42%) than those in non-minority households (25%).

• Two-thirds of caregivers live in the same household as their care recipient (64%).

• The majority of the care recipients are in two age ranges: 40 to 59 (32%) and 60 to 79 (25%).  Smaller percentages are aged 19 to 39 (15%) or 80 and older (19%), and 1 to 18 (9%).

• The most common care recipient conditions are Alzheimer’s disease or dementia (18%); disease of the heart, lung, or kidneys (16%); arthritis (14%); and diabetes 14%).

Caregivers’ Responsibilities

• Over half (58%) of the child caregivers help their care recipient with at least one activity of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, getting in and out of beds and chairs, toileting, and feeding.  Nearly all help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as shopping, household tasks, and meal preparation.

• Of the 14 caregiving responsibilities examined in this study, the two most common are keeping the care recipient company (96%) and helping with chores (85%). Next most common are helping with grocery shopping (65%) and meal preparation (63%).

• At least one-quarter of caregivers help with one or more of the following four additional caregiving responsibilities: getting in and out of beds and chairs (42%), getting around the neighborhood (35%), taking medicines (30%), and feeding (27%).

• One in six child caregivers (17%) helps the care recipient communicate with doctors or nurses, and 15% of those aged 12 and older help make calls and arrangements for other people to help the care recipient.

• Child caregivers are not providing care alone. At least three-quarters of the child caregivers who help with any given task say that someone else helps with it also.

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