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Who Is Caring for the Caregivers? The Financial, Physical, and Mental Health Costs of Caregiving in California

November 29, 2021

Policy Brief

Authors: Sean Tan, MPP, Sriya Kudaravalli, Kathryn G. Kietzman, PhD, MSW

Summary: Data from the 2020 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) indicate that a sizeable proportion of family and friend caregivers in California are struggling financially, experiencing physical or mental health problems, and receiving little if any financial support for their caregiving responsibilities.

Findings: In 2020, 1 in 4 California caregivers provided 20 or more hours of care to a family member or friend in a typical week, yet only 1 in 11 received payment for any of the hours spent providing care. More than 20% reported that caring for a family member or friend was “somewhat” to “extremely” financially stressful, with Black or African American (28%), Asian (23.4%), and Latinx adult caregivers (21.9%) more likely than white adult caregivers (17.7%) to report this experience. In addition to financial concerns, about 1 in 7 caregivers (13.5%) reported a physical or mental health problem within the past 12 months due to caregiving. Fewer than 1% of California caregivers reported using employment-based leave benefits to support their caregiving responsibilities in 2020.

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