Thirty percent of U.S. adults help a loved one with personal needs or household chores, managing finances, arranging for outside services, or visiting regularly to see how they are doing. Most are caring for an adult, such as a parent or spouse, but a small group cares for a child living with a disability or long-term health issue. The population breaks down as follows:
- 24% of U.S. adults care for an adult
- 3% of U.S. adults care for a child with significant health issues
- 3% of U.S. adults care for both an adult and a child
- 70% of U.S. adults do not currently provide care to a loved one
Eight in ten caregivers (79%) have access to the internet. Of those, 88% look online for health information, outpacing other internet users on every health topic included in our survey, from looking up certain treatments to hospital ratings to end-of-life decisions.
“Caregivers use the internet to navigate the frontier of home health care,” says Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project and lead author of the study. “Caregivers not only care for their loved one’s physical and emotional needs, but their information needs as well, and the internet is a key resource.”
About the Survey
This report is the result of collaboration between the Pew Internet Project and the California HealthCare Foundation. The California HealthCare Foundation is an independent philanthropy committed to improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California.
All numerical results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between August 9 and September 13, 2010, among a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based on internet users (n=2,065), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. For results based on caregivers (n=860), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.