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Informal Caregiver Supply and Demographic Changes: Review of the Literature

Publication Date

Informal Caregiver Supply and Demographic Changes: Review of the Literature

Brenda C. Spillman, Eva H. Allen, and Melissa Favreault

Urban Institute

December 2020

Link to HTML Version (55 PDF pages)

ABSTRACT: There is a concern in the United States about the possibility of an impending “care gap” between the number of these traditional spouse and child informal caregivers available and the number of baby boomers requiring assistance as they age. This literature review examines: (1) the recent prevalence of care needs among older Americans and the informal supports available to meet them, (2) compensatory strategies used when traditional supports are not available, and (3) outcomes related to lack of care and use of compensatory strategies. And looks at projections of future gap between needs and key demographic and other trends that may affect projections.

This report was prepared under contract #HHSP233201600024I between HHS's ASPE/BHDAP and Urban Institute. For additional information about this subject, you can visit the BHDAP home page at or contact the ASPE Project Officers, at HHS/ASPE/BHDAP, Room 424E, H.H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20201;

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and views expressed in this report are those of the authors.  They do not reflect the views of the Department of Health and Human Services, the contractor or any other funding organization. This report was completed and submitted on February 12, 2019.