Men and older persons also care, but how much? Assessing amounts of caregiving in Spain and Sweden

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Gerdt Sundström
Magnus Jegermalm
Antonio Abellán
Alba Ayala
Julio Pérez
Rogelio Pujol
Javier Souto


We estimate how much caregiving men and women respectively do, and how much of the caregiving is done by older (65+) and younger persons, inside their household and for other households, in Spain and in Sweden. To assess this, we use self-reported hours of caregiving from two national surveys about caregiving, performed in 2014 (Spain, N = 2003; Sweden, N = 1193). Spain and Sweden have dissimilar household structures, and different social services for older (65+) persons. Caregivers, on average, provide many more hours of care in Spain than in Sweden. Women provide about 58% of all hours of caregiving, in Spain in all age groups, in Sweden only among younger caregivers. The reason is the dominance of partner caregivers among older Swedes, with older men and women providing equal hours of care. Family caregiving inside the household is more extensive in the more complex Spanish households than in Swedish households. Family care between households prevails in Sweden, where the large majority of older persons live with a partner only, or alone. This is increasingly common in Spain, although it remains at a lower level. We estimate that older persons provide between 22% and 33% of all hours of caregiving in Spain, and between 41% and 49% in Sweden. Patterns of caregiving appear to be determined mainly by demography and household structure.


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