Infometrics Report – Economic Contribution of Caregiving November 2022

The economic contribution and sacrifices of unpaid family, whānau and aiga carers in New Zealand for Alzheimers NZ, Carers NZ, the Carers Alliance, IHC and the Ministry of Social Development.

Authorship: This report has been prepared by Rob Heyes with input from Dave Grimmond

Executive Summary

Unpaid carers are people who care for friends, family, whānau and aiga members with a disability, health condition or illness who need help with everyday living. The majority are unpaid for their caring work. Approximately 1 in every 7 adult New Zealander identifies as being an unpaid carer – 432,000 people, 14% of the adult population based on the 2018 Census. Due to Census undercounting the true number could be as much as 50% higher – 655,000 people. However, we think the actual count of carers should be used, with the qualification that this count is likely a significant under-count. The higher number is based on assumptions that cannot be verified. Aside from being undercounted, unpaid carers are a hidden workforce for other reasons, not least because many consider caring to be part of their family responsibilities. But the reality is that without unpaid carers, the already overburdened health system would not be able to cope with the extra demand for its services. To put this in context, there are 7.9 unpaid carers for every practising nurse, and 9.6 unpaid carers for every personal care assistant or aged and disability sector carer.


Carers NZ, Alzheimers NZ, the Carers Alliance, and the Ministry of Social Development asked Infometrics to update and expand the analysis of Infometrics’ earlier report about the economic value of unpaid caring carried out in 2014. It aligns with the objective of recognising carers and their contributions in Mahi Aroha the Carers’ Strategy Action Plan 2019-2023, specifically Action 1.4, which is to improve data about carers. We start by looking at the characteristics of carers using 2018 Census data and findings from Synergia’s 2021 State of Caring Survey, the results of which are published in the recently released State of Caring in Aotearoa report. This helps us understand which sections of the population caring responsibilities fall on the most.

To read the full report, go here.