Here is the recent analysis of the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently reported its analysis of the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

It found that for people aged 15 to 64 years, the labour force participation rate for primary carers (56.3 per cent) and other carers (77.2 per cent) was lower than for non-carers (80.3 per cent).

While these numbers may disappoint some, they represent about a 10 per cent improvement on the 2012 survey results for primary carers, and a slight improvement for other carers.

However, the results are still concerning given that caring responsibilities disproportionately fall on women.

Consistent with previous surveys, the 2015 results showed that most carers are females, representing 68.1 per cent of primary carers and 55.5 per cent of all carers.

Women typically earn less than men for equivalent work, and have lower superannuation savings, both because of lower pay and because of interruptions to work to raise children. Caring responsibilities can impose additional financial penalties.

Not all carers who ‘participate in the labour force’ (and therefore show up in the official labour participation statistics) are in full-time work. The ABS defines someone as ‘employed’ if they did just one hour of paid work in the survey week.

Many of those carers who can do paid work can only do so part-time – a further financial disadvantage compared with peers without caring responsibilities.

The survey also found:

  • The average age of a primary carer was 55 years.
  • Over one-third of primary carers (37.8 per cent) were living with disability themselves.
  • In 2015, almost 2.7 million Australians were carers (11.6 per cent), of which 856,100 people (3.7 per cent of the Australian population) aged 15 years and over identified as primary carers.

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