Young carers: review of research and data

Paper discussing the data and evidence on young carers and young adult carers in Scotland.


1. The Carers (Scotland) Act defines young carers as those aged under 18 or who are aged 18 and a pupil at school.

2. For example, surveys conducted by the Carers Trust have found larger percentages.

3. The Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) defines young carers as those aged under 18 or who are aged 18 and a pupil at school.

4. A comparison of the SHeS and census data is available in the Annex.

5. One study found an example of a young girl who had translated in sign language for her deaf mother since she was three years old (Baker, 2002).

6. Scotland's 2011 Census data was analysed according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD) that ranks the 6,505 datazones that cover Scotland from the most deprived (ranked 1) to the least deprived (ranked 6,505). For the analysis here the datazones were divided into five quintiles with SIMD1 the 20% that are the most deprived to SIMD5 which is the 20% of datazones that are least deprived. Both the proportion of young carers and young adult carers and the intensity of caring rises as levels of deprivation increase.

7. One limitation of this study was that it did not involve young people outwith the support of young carer groups. Furthermore, Dearden & Becker (2004, p. 4) do not indicate what proportion of the 6,178 young carers in the sample are Scottish, so we do not know to what extent this research is relevant to Scotland.

8. This is considered the most accurate estimate as it is based on large scale population sample with a robust sample. However, it is acknowledged that this is likely to be an underestimate.

9. Data from an internal evaluation report from the Scottish Young Carers Festival (2012).
Over 600 young carers attended the festival over three days. Information on asthma
rates in the general population is available at

10. The Scottish Health Survey 2015 found that the average wellbeing score for 13-15 year old boys was significantly higher than for girls of the same age.

11. The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, provides for a Young Carers Statement for all young carers. This should enable the responsible authority and the young carer to have a comprehensive view of any support needs and how these will be met. Young carers with a wellbeing need will also have a child's plan.

12. The Census analysis included young people aged 16-24. It therefore does not take into account mature students who may also have caring responsibilities.

13. According to the Carers Trust There is at least one dedicated young carers service in each local authority in Scotland, although the offer may be variable. Carers Trust offer support to young carers and young adult carers via and respectively


Email: Alix Rosenberg

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