Birmingham's 'hidden' population of carers

By on 03/06/2009 in change test, News
Birmingham carers in Victoria Square

Birmingham carers in Victoria Square

cwlogoBirmingham could have as many as 30,000 people who are carers but are ‘hidden’ from society, and not accessing the support that is available.

Figures from Birmingham City Council’s Carers Centre estimate that many of these people will not even see themselves as carers for at least five years from when they start looking after a loved one.

According to the latest available Census figures (2001), Birmingham has a population of 977,087 projected to increase by 4,000 – 5,000 per year until 2028. Of this amount, 98,279 or 10.1% identified themselves as providing unpaid care. It is estimated by Carers UK that one third of carers do not recognise themselves as such within the first five years of caring, therefore it is assumed that this number will be considerably higher.

‘Hidden’ carers are classed as those that are currently not being reached by services, and those who do not necessarily identify themselves as such. They often come from existing marginalised groups, who do not feel that services are accessible to them, e.g., BME or Gay & Lesbian communities, and working carers. However, a lot of carers, particularly older people, can be reluctant to seek help as a point of pride.

The Council wants to engage carers through its Adults and Communities Annual Conference, Putting People First at the ICC on Tuesday 16 June 2009. The conference offers an opportunity for people to find out more about person-centred adult social care services.

Peter Hay, strategic director for Adults and Communities, comments:

“I have great admiration for the hard job done by carers, nor should we underestimate the contribution that they make. Caring for a loved one can be isolating and lonely, but we cannot help people unless they reach out for support.”


For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07833 059 347

Notes to editors

The profile of carers in Birmingham

98,279 or 10.1% of Birmingham population provides unpaid care
24,055 or 25% provide over 50 hours of unpaid care per week
93,600 or 13.3% who are aged 18 and over provide unpaid care
77,413 who are aged between 18 and 64 provide unpaid care. 40.8% are male, 59.2% are female
16,187 who are aged over 65 provide unpaid care. 48.9% are male, 51.1% are female

Age breakdown of those aged 65 and over in Birmingham

Most carers tend to be older adults either caring for their spouse, partner or adult disabled relative, although 10% of carers care for people who are not relatives. (General Household Survey, 1995)

10,367 people aged between 65 and 74 provide unpaid care
5,085 people aged between 75 and 84 provide unpaid care
604 people aged between 85 and 89 provide unpaid care
131 people aged over 90 provide unpaid care

Amount of unpaid care being provided

Of those people aged 18 and over who provided unpaid care in Birmingham:
61.2% provided between 1 and 19 hours a week
13.5% provided between 20 and 49 hours a week
25.3% provided 50 or more hours a week

Unpaid care by locality (age 18 and over) in Birmingham

14.3% of Sutton & Erdington population provided unpaid care
13.5% of Hodge Hill & Yardley population provided unpaid care
13.1% of South Birmingham PCT’s population provided unpaid care
12.6% of Heart of Birmingham PCT’s population provided unpaid care

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