Data Insight: The association between unpaid caring and employment and earnings in Northern Ireland

This project aimed to provide the most comprehensive sociodemographic description of unpaid carers in Northern Ireland. It explores how caring is related to a broad range of aspects associated with employment, income and earnings.

The research analysed the Earnings and Employees Study 2011, a linked dataset which contains:

  • the Northern Ireland Census of Population and Housing 2011
  • Capital Value data from Land and Property Services
  • the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2011: A UK wide survey that provides a wide range of information on earnings and hours worked. ASHE is carried out by the Office for National Statistics in Great Britain and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency in Northern Ireland. The sample used comprises approximately 1% of all employees in Northern Ireland who were covered by Pay As You Earn schemes. 

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Why it matters

Unpaid caring makes a massive financial and personal contribution to the economy and population of Northern Ireland. The findings from this study indicate that providing high levels of unpaid care is associated with poorer earnings and income status. There was also significant evidence that this effect is much stronger for female carers. It is important that the unequal distribution of unpaid caring and its associated economic costs in the Northern Ireland workforce is acknowledged.

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