How many young carers are there?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates that there are approximately 100,000 young carers aged under 25 living in NSW (11% of all carers) and 275,000 young carers in Australia (4% of all people under 25).[i] However, these statistics are considered to significantly underestimate the number of young carers. The Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) has estimated that there were over 75,000 young carers that had not been identified in previous ABS studies.[ii] This may be due to a lack of awareness, a fear of discrimination or involvement from child protection services, cultural beliefs or embarrassment amongst peers.
At least 4,900 young carers in NSW are the main provider of care to the person they support (the primary carer). Others may not be the primary carer but may still provide significant support, for example, to a sibling who is also supported by their parent/s. Young carers are disproportionately more likely to live in lone parent, low resource households and to be from Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds compared to their peers.
Diverse young carers
Young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are more likely to be carers than their peers, however they also make up a larger proportion of the ‘hidden carer’ group. In one study, the SPRC found that in all age and sex categories young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were overrepresented in the young carer and potential carer populations.[iii] Young people from CALD communities are also overrepresented, although not to the same extent as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
Young carers from CALD backgrounds may have additional responsibilities due to language barriers and cultural appropriateness, meaning that their caring role may have a greater impact on their life. There are also difficulties in accessing culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Carers NSW and other organisations have a range of culturally specific resources and support services available and the Young Carer team are committed to identifying and supporting all young carers while embracing their individuality and diversity.
If you would like to learn more about young carers, contact Carers NSW on (02) 9280 4744 and order a copy of the Carers NSW Young Carer Policy Kit. Click here for more information. If you would like to refer young carer to the program, please click here.
[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2015
[ii] Hill, T., Smyth, C., Thomson, C. and Cass, B.(2009), Young carers: their characteristics and geographical distribution, Report to the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales.
[iii] Hill et al (2009)