Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.


Increase in adult carers feeling stressed or depressed

60.6% of carers reported feeling stressed in 2018-19 (up from 58.7% in 2016-17)2, according to a survey of 50,800 adult carers in England, published today by NHS Digital.

60.6% of carers reported feeling stressed in 2018-19 (up from 58.7% in 2016-17)2, according to a survey of 50,800 adult carers in England, published today by NHS Digital.

The percentage of carers who reported feeling depressed increased from 43.4% in 2016-173 to 45.1% in 2018-19.  

Of all the carers surveyed4, 77.8% reported ‘feeling tired’ (an increase from 76.0% in
2016-17) and 66.0% said that they experienced ‘disturbed sleep’ (an increase from 64.0% in 2016-17).  

More than three quarters of people surveyed (76.0%) said that they spend over 20 hours per week looking after the cared-for person, with 38.7% spending over 100 hours per week on their caring duties.

The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2018-195 reports on the views of 50,800 carers6 who are caring for a person aged 18 or over.

The biennial survey of carers provides vital information about the impact of people’s caring responsibilities on their quality of life7.

The results of the survey showed that the percentage of carers who were not in paid work because of their caring responsibilities increased from 21.0% in 2016-17 to 22.6% in 2018-19.

10.6% of respondents reported that caring had caused them a lot of financial difficulties in the past 12 months, which is an increase from 2016-17, when the figure was 9.6%.

The report also provides information relating to the carer and their wider experiences of providing care.

  • The majority of carers were female (67.8%)
  • The largest age band of carers was 55-64 years, which accounted for 23.8% of the eligible population. The smallest group, 18-24 years, accounted for 1.6% of the eligible population
  • The majority of carers surveyed (65.4%) have been carers for over five years. Almost a quarter (23.5%) have been caring for 20 years or more
  • Most carers who responded to the survey were caring for a person with a physical disability (51.4%), with the next-largest group caring for someone with a long-standing illness (39.7%)8
  • 38.6% of carers were extremely or very satisfied with the support or services they received, compared to 7.2% who were extremely or very dissatisfied

Read the full report:

Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2018-19


Follow us on Twitter: @NHSDigital

    1. to editors
  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals and citizens depend. During the 2018/19 financial year, NHS Digital published 287 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. The Health and Social Care Information Centre is a non-departmental body created by statute, also known as NHS Digital. We provide ‘Information and Technology for better health and care’. Find out more about our role and remit at
  2. All of the percentage changes between 2018-19 and 2016-17 quoted in the press release are statistically significant.
  3. In 2016-17 the eligible population changed so that in addition to including carers that have had a carer's assessment or review from the local authority in the 12 months prior to the survey taking place, carers are now also included who have not been assessed or reviewed during the previous 12 months. Due to the change in eligible population, comparisons have not been made to the 2014-15 survey data.
  4. The SACE survey is traditionally a paper survey. This year’s report included an extra mode of response with two councils piloting an online survey. The online survey included the same questions as the paper survey.
  5. The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England (SACE) takes place every other year and is conducted by Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs). The survey seeks the opinions of carers aged 18 or over who are known to be caring for a person aged 18 or over and living in England. Findings from the survey are used to populate a number of measures in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF)
  6. Carers were sent questionnaires in the period October to November 2018, to seek their opinions on a number of topics that are considered to be indicative of a balanced life alongside their caring role.
  7. The carer-reported quality of life score gives an overarching view of the quality of life of carers. The measure combines individual responses to six questions measuring different outcomes relating to overall quality of life. The outcomes map to six domains; occupation, control, personal care, safety, social participation and encouragement and support.
  8. These groups are not mutually exclusive as carers were able to select multiple answers to this question.   
  9. All figures over a thousand have been rounded to the nearest hundred, all percentages have been rounded to one decimal place.
  10. For media enquiries please contact [email protected] or 0300 303 3888.


Last edited: 4 February 2020 4:07 pm