Labor market work and home care's unpaid caregivers: a systematic review of labor force participation rates, predictors of labor market withdrawal, and hours of work

Milbank Q. 2007 Dec;85(4):641-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2007.00504.x.


As people continue to age and receive complex health care services at home, concern has arisen about the availability of family caregivers and their ability to combine employment with caregiving. This article evaluates the international research on unpaid caregivers and their labor market choices, highlighting three conclusions: first, caregivers in general are equally as likely to be in the labor force as noncaregivers; second, caregivers are more likely to work fewer hours in the labor market than noncaregivers, particularly if their caring commitments are heavy; and finally, only those heavily involved in caregiving are significantly more likely to withdraw from the labor market than noncaregivers. Policy recommendations are targeting greater access to formal care for "intensive" caregivers and developing workplace policies for employed caregivers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers / economics*
  • Caregivers / supply & distribution
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / trends
  • Home Nursing / economics*
  • Humans
  • Men
  • Organizational Policy
  • Population Dynamics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women