MPIDR Working Paper

The impact of demographic change on transfers of care and associated well-being

Dukhovnov, D., Ryan, J., Zagheni, E.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2020-022, 28 pages.
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (Mai 2020)
Open Access


Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the impact of demographic change on long-term, macro-level childcare and adult care transfers, and the associated well-being effects of informal caregiving.

Method: We measure the impact of demographic change on non-monetary care exchanged between different groups by estimating matrices of time transfers by age and sex, and weighting the time flows by self-reported indicators of well-being, for activities related to childcare and adult care. The analysis employs cross-sectional data from the American Time Use Survey 2011-2013, and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Disability and Use of Time Module 2013 to produce the estimates of well-being associated with various forms of care.

Results: We show that people have more positive feelings when caring for children than when caring for adults. Although reductions in the country-level care supply are expected to be small relative to demand, future projections indicate a 17.1% decrease in the ratio of time spent caring for children under age 15 relative to time spent caring for the rest of the population by 2050. While this change is expected to produce only a minor increase in the ratio of negative-to-positive feelings associated with caregiving, purely due to population aging, it could have nontrivial deterioration of well-being for some caregivers.

Discussion: Significant reductions in absolute caregiver well-being caused by demographic changes at the population level may reduce workload, productivity, and adversely impact health, if not offset by caregiver-friendly family policies.

Schlagwörter: Vereinigte Staaten, child care, household, time budget
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.