The Economic Value of Non-professional Care: A Europe-Wide Analysis

Int J Health Policy Manag. 2022 Oct 19;11(10):2272-2286. doi: 10.34172/ijhpm.2021.149. Epub 2021 Oct 30.


Background: This paper had two aims. Firstly, to provide a broader view of the profile of non-professional caregivers in Europe, and secondly, to estimate the economic value of the non-professional caregiving.

Methods: The European Quality of Life Survey 2016/2017, carried out by Eurofound, was used. The target population of the survey was adults who care for a relative or friend in a total of 33 European countries. The opportunity cost method was used to estimate the economic value of caregiving, in which two of the activities forgone were analysed: paid activities (restricted to caregivers who were employed), for which the average gross wage of each country was used; and unpaid activities, for which the minimum gross wage of each country was used.

Results: There were more than 76 million non-professional caregivers in Europe that provide care for a relative or friend. This figure represents 12.7% of the population in Europe. The estimated time devoted to non-professional care in Europe reached 72 301.5 million hours in 2016. Sharp differences were found among countries. The economic value of that time is estimated at 576 000 million of euros, which represented about 3.63% of Europe's gross domestic product (GDP).

Conclusion: This study shows the very important number of resources dedicated to the non-professional care of dependent people and their economic valuation. These results may be helpful in prospective analyses estimating future needs on professional and non-professional and for designing of long-term care (LTC) policies in Europe.

Keywords: Caregiving; Economic Valuation; Europe; Family Care; Informal Care; Non-professional Care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers*
  • Europe
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*