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Socioeconomic differences in informal caregiving in Europe

Content

Disclosing socioeconomic differences in informal care provision is increasingly important in aging societies as it helps to
identify the segments of the population that may need targeted support and the types of national investments to support family
caregivers. This study examines the association between individual-level socioeconomic status and informal care provision
within the household. We also examine the role of contextual factors, income inequality, and the generosity of social
spending, to identify how macro-level socioeconomic resource structures shape individuals’ provision of care to household
members. We use pooled data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, waves 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)
and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA, waves 2, 3, 4, 6, 7). Poisson regression multilevel models estimate
the associations between household socioeconomic status (education, income, and wealth), and country socioeconomic
resources (income inequality and social spending as a percentage of GDP), and the likelihood of older adults’ informal
care provision within the household. Results indicate that lower individual socioeconomic resources—education, income,
and wealth—were associated with a higher incidence of older adults’ informal care provision within the household. At the
macro-level, income inequality was positively associated while social spending was negatively associated with older adults’
care provision within the household. Our findings suggest that socioeconomically disadvantaged groups are more likely
to provide informal care, which may reinforce socioeconomic inequalities. At the national level, more equitable resource
distribution and social spending may reduce intensive family caregiving.

Publication Details

Nekehia T. Quashie

Wagner_MEA_SHARE

Melanie Wagner

Ellen Verbakel

deindl

Christian Deindl

2021
10.1007/s10433-021-00666-y
European Journal of Ageing