Provision of unpaid care

Mnemonic (reference code): CARERPS11

Type: Primary variable

Definition: A person is a provider of unpaid care if they look after or give help or support to family members, friends, neighbours because of long-term physical or mental ill health or disability, or problems related to old age. This does not include any activities as part of paid employment. No distinction is made about whether any care that a person provides is within their own household or outside the household, so no explicit link can be made about whether the care provided is for a person within the household who has poor general health or a long-term health problem or disability.

Applicability: Person







Yes, 1-19 hours a week


Yes, 20-34 hours a week


Yes, 35-49 hours a week


Yes, 50+ hours a week


No code required

Total Number of Categories: 6

Not applicable category (X) comprises: Schoolchildren and full-time students living away from home during term time.

Source question:

Image of Scottish question 9 from 2011

Scotland 2011

Reason for asking: The provision of unpaid care is a key indicator of care needs and has important implications for the planning and delivery of health and social care services. This information helps local government plan and allocate resources.

This information also helps social services departments and NHS trusts to meet statutory responsibilities, including the identification of carers and provision of support services and advice to aid them in continuing their roles.

Additional analysis of this information reveals the possible burden on social care services if unpaid carers were not available. It is also used alongside other measures of health to identify local inequalities and needs.

England & Wales (2011) and Scotland (2001) comparisons:

Image of E & W question 9 from 2011

England & Wales 2011

Image of Scottish question 17 from 2001

Scotland 2001

The codes for carerps11 data for Scotland are non-sequential to allow comparison with ONS/NISRA versions, which have slightly different categories.


To see which of our published standard, additional and commissioned tables use this variable please use the Table Index.