Table of contents

Projected service use and outcomes in 3--5 years and 5--10 years

Adults :: Carers :: Projected service use and outcomes in 3--5 years and 5--10 years

It is estimated that 3 in 5 people will act as a carer at some point in their lives.[1] However, carers are not a static population, every year millions of people take on caring responsibilities, whilst for millions of carers caring comes to an end as the person they care for recovers, moves into residential care or passes away.[2] As such, it is very difficult to calculate the number of carers that will be required in subsequent years.

Table 2 shows projected carer provision required in the years 2017 to 2037. These projections assume that the proportion of the population providing care in the future, by age, remains the same as in 2011.[3] This assumption is unlikely to be accurate as it does not take into account changes in the prevalence of age-related conditions, such as dementia, which has shown a rapid increase in prevalence. In addition, the proportion recognised as providing care is likely to increase due to better identification of unpaid carers. Thus we are likely to see much higher numbers recorded in the future than those estimated in Table 2.

  2017 2022 2027 2032 2037
0 to 15 701 740 759 765 770
16 to 24 1,548 1,495 1,577 1,697 1,749
25 to 34 2,680 2,800 2,673 2,626 2,793
35 to 49 6,851 6,851 7,428 7,755 7,780
50 to 64 9,387 10,040 9,913 9,677 9,768
65 and over 5,680 6,343 7,196 8,151 8,890
Total 26,605 27,800 28,938 29,991 30,987
Table 2: Estimated number of carers in Medway, by age, 2017 to 2037. Projections calculated using Census 2011 carer numbers and 2012-population projections (ONS).

Using figures from the 2011 Census, Carers UK predict that there will be a 40% rise in the number of carers needed by 2037, resulting in an estimated 9 million carers nationally.[2] If we were to crudely (with no age-standardisation) apply this 40% increase in the number of Medway carers, we would expect to see 35,004 unpaid carers by 2037. However, the methodology used by Carers UK has not been published and as such cannot be verified.

A recent paper looking at the supply of unpaid care for older people by their adult children, suggests that demand for unpaid care will begin to exceed supply by 2017 and that the unpaid 'care gap' will grow rapidly from then onwards.[4] Estimates by POPPI suggest that the number of older carers (aged 65 years and over) in England is set to increase to over 1.8 million by 2030.[5]


[1]   MGeorge, Carers UK. It could be you. A report on the chances of becoming a carer 2001; Carers UK. .
[2]   Carers UK. Facts about Carers policy briefing 2014;
[3]   Office for National Statistics. Census 2011;
[4]   Pickard. A growing care gap? The supply of adult unpaid care for older people by their adult children in England to 2032. Ageing & Society 2015; 35: 96-123.
[5]   Projecting Older people population Information (POPPI). Population projections 2014;