Where would we be without the work of caregivers? It is impossible to imagine, because none of us would be here without their work. Yet the work of caregiving, which largely happens inside our homes, remains some of the most undervalued work in our society.
There are 2.2 million nannies, house cleaners, home care workers and attendants in the United States. According to the Economic Policy Institute (2019), 91.5% of domestic workers are women and 52.4% are women of color – Black, Hispanic or Asian American. Domestic workers are paid an average of $12.01 an hour and three times as likely to be living in poverty as other workers. Further, 90% of workers do not have employer-provided retirement and 80% do not receive employer health insurance coverage.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are approximately 53 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. Sixty-one percent are women and 39% are people of color. These caregivers are spouses or partners supporting a loved one with daily tasks, adult children or family members, friends and neighbors. Some adult children are balancing care for their own children and their parents – what is often called “sandwich” caregiving. The economic value of the unpaid caregiving services in 2013 was $470 billion, which was “more than the value of paid home care and total Medicaid spending in the same year”. Many unpaid family caregivers are also home care employers and like domestic workers, unpaid family caregivers labor is essential to our communities and economy, but invisible and undervalued by our culture and society.
Honor Domestic Work is a social media campaign, website, storytelling, and gift-giving project to honor the people who do the essential work that takes place in our homes, whether it be paid or unpaid.