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Low-Wage Home Care Jobs Are Nation's Fastest-Growing, PHI Analysis Shows

March 10, 2014

– New PHI Fact Sheet Reports on Demographic and Employment Characteristics of Home Care Workforce –

Bronx, NY – The home care workforce — home health aides and personal care aides — numbers 2 million today and is projected to grow by 50 percent between 2012 and 2022, a rate nearly five times that of all occupations in the nation, according to a new PHI analysis reported in Facts 5: Home Care Workers at a Glance.

The growing demand for home care is changing the face of direct-care work. The majority of direct-care workers are now employed in home and community-based settings, and by 2022, home and community-based direct-care workers are likely to outnumber facility workers by more than two to one.

Yet personal care aide and home health aide jobs – the second and third fastest-growing occupations in the nation — are poorer quality jobs than those of nursing assistants, who do similar work in facilities. Home care workers earn near-poverty wages ($17,000 annually, $9.38 median hourly wage); are often employed part-time (56 percent); and lack benefits such as health coverage (37 percent uninsured). More than half of home care workers (56 percent) live in households under 200 percent of the federal poverty level; many rely on public assistance such as Medicaid, food stamps, housing, and child care.

"The demand for in-home services and supports is growing dramatically as baby boomers age and more people living with chronic health problems and disabilities prefer to receive care at home," said Abby Marquand, PHI associate director of policy research, who conducted the analysis. "To meet our nation's increasing need for an adequate and stable home care workforce, we must invest in improving the quality of home care jobs."

Home care workers provide services and supports such as bathing, dressing, toileting, preparing meals, and transportation to elders and people with disabilities in home and community-based settings.

Over 90 percent of the home care workforce is female, more than half are women of color, and a quarter is foreign born, the analysis shows.

The new PHI fact sheet reports that 73 percent of the Home Health Care Services Industry is funded by government programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

To learn more about the home care workforce, see Facts 5: Home Care Workers at a Glance, the latest brief in the PHI national fact sheet series on the direct-care workforce.

Additional PHI Resources on the Direct-Care Workforce

The PHI website provides an array of resources to help journalists with their coverage on the direct-care workforce (personal care aides, home health aides, and nursing assistants).

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PHI, the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, works to transform eldercare and disability services, fostering dignity, respect, and independence — for all who receive care, and all who provide it. The nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care.

Deane Beebe, PHI Media Relations Director, 718-928-2033, 646-285-1039 (cell), dbeebe@phinational.org

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