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New Research Estimates 800,000 Young Carers in England

A recent BBC News report has revealed there are as many as 800,000 young carers in England, with six young carers in every secondary school classroom.

The last census in 2011 found there were 166,000 young carers in England, aged five—17 years, but charities and organisations working with young carers, including the Carers’ Centre, have long thought this was an underestimate.

The figures now indicate that over a fifth (22%) of the children who completed a questionnaire provided some care for a family member with an illness or disability. Of those children, 32% were classed as doing a ‘high level’ of caring, with nearly a tenth (9%) carrying out the highest amount of care.

You can hear from a local young carer, Alex, 12, who wrote a piece for our blog here.

Carers’ Centre Chief Executive David Trumper said:

“This new data highlights just how important our early intervention work with young carers and their families is, ensuring these children can take regular time away from their caring responsibilities. Last year we were in contact with nearly 500 young carers in Bath and North East Somerset.

“These new figures are a reminder just how vital our awareness and identification work with local schools is if we are to reach the many more children who are out there. If your school would like support to identify and support young cares, we would be keen to hear from you.”

The questionnaire was completed by 925 children across England from two year groups – 11 to 12-year-olds and 14 to 15-year-olds. If the data was extrapolated across England it would correspond to more than 800,000 secondary-school age children carrying out some level of care.

While the survey only covered England, the prevalence of young carers is an issue across the UK. In Wales, the official figures say there are 7,000 but research suggests a figure four times higher. In Scotland, the Carers Trust says there are 29,000 young carers. The trust says there are 30,000 young carers in Northern Ireland.