Other forms of work

Due to aging, number of relatives that take care of their elderly in the country rises

Section: Social Statistics | Carmen Nery | Design: Helga Szpiz

June 04, 2020 10h00 AM | Last Updated: June 17, 2020 09h16 AM

  • At a glance

  • Number of family members who dedicated to caring for individuals aged 60 and over jumped from 3.7 million in 2016 to 5.1 million in 2019.
  • Percentage of people who took care of their elderly is higher in the states of the Northeast, such as Rio Grande do Norte (15.2%).
  • Monitoring or keeping company at home (83.4%) was the main activity required by the elderly.
  • The survey also reveals that Brazilians have been more engaged in domestic chores, from 81.3% in 2016 to 85.7% in 2019, when it totaled 146.7 million people.
  • The gap in the hours dedicated to the care of people and household chores between men and women has increased, from 9.9 hours more women in 2016 to 10.4 hours in 2019.
  • As to color or race, black women (94.1%) boost in performed household chores.
  • Around 12.8 million people dedicated to subsistence production, which has been decreasing since 2016 in all Regions.
  • The rate of voluntary work has been falling in almost all Regions, with a reduction of 281 thousand people between 2018 and 2019. However, the average number of hours dedicated to volunteering has increased, from 6.5 hours to 6.6 hours.
  • Data are from the supplement Other Forms of Work, from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey 2019, which collected information on caretaking, household chores, subsistence production and voluntary work.
#PraCegoVer A foto mostra uma mão de uma pessoa adulta entrelaçada na mão de uma pessoa idosa, apoiadas no colo da pessoa idosa
More than 5 million people took care of elderly relatives last year - Photo: Helena Pontes/IBGE News Agency

More Brazilians had to take care of their elderly relatives in 2019, a group currently considered the most vulnerable to Covid-19. The number of family members dedicated to the care of individuals aged 60 and over jumped from 3.7 million in 2016 to 5.1 million in 2019, a contingent that represents 10.5% (1.5 percentage points more than in 2016) of the 49.1 million persons who were caring for residents last year.

At the same time, the number of people who take care of children aged under 5 year decreased. Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of people who take care of children aged 0 to 5 decreased 1.5 pp.

“Those data might indicate that less people are having children, or they are having children later or have highest access to daycare centers. Moreover, they can indicate population aging”, says Alessandra Scalione Brito, IBGE’s analyst.

These pieces of information are from the supplement Other Forms of Work, from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD-C 2019), which collected data about caretaking (children, elderly, sick or people with disabilities), household chores, subsistence production and voluntary work.

Highest number of family members who take care of elderly are in Northeast and North Regions

The survey indicates that the percentage of people who take care of elderly in the caretaking total is higher in the states of the Northeast region, as is in Rio Grande do Norte (15.2%), the first in the national rank, Maranhão (12.3%), Ceará (11.9%), Paraíba (11.7%), Piauí (11.3%), Bahia (11.3%) and in states of the North region, as in Tocantins (11.5%) and Amazonas (11.4%). Other highlights are the Southeast and South Regions, in Rio de Janeiro (12.3%) and Rio Grande do Sul (10.7%), which concentrate the highest number of elderly population.

Household monitoring and assistance (83.4%), caretaking assistance (74.1%) and transporting and taking to school, medical examinations, parks, squares and social, cultural, sports and religious activities (61.1%) are the most required activities by the elderly.

More people are doing household chores

The survey also reveals that Brazilian people have been more engaged in household chores, changinging from a achievement rate of 81.3% in 2016 to 85.7% in 2019, totaling 146.7 million people. Within 2018 and 2019, an additional contingent of 1.6 million people started doing household chores.

“The highest achievement rate of household chores might also be a consequence of the market crisis and the decrease of families incomes, reducing the chances of hiring a formal housekeeper.” analyzes Alessandra Scalioni Brito.

Woman spend almost twice the hours in household chores and caretaking

Although  men’s participation in household chores is rising - the achievement rate increased 6.7 pp between 2016 (71.9%) and 2019 (78.6%) -, women are not only the main performers of this activity but also have increased their participation,  changing from 89.9% in 2016 to 92.1% in 2019.

The biggest difference of achievement rate between man and woman is found in the Northeast Region, 21 pp. The activities with the highest difference between woman and man are cooking (33.5 pp) and doing the laundy (36.6 pp). The only activity with more men (58.1%) than women (30.6%) is minor repairs and maintenance in the home, cars and household appliances, a difference of 27.5 pp.

Ms. Brito highlights that the inequality between woman and man pops up when considering the number of hours devoted to household chores and/or caretaking, as women work the twice the time as men per week - 18.5 hrs against 10.4 hrs among female and male employed persons in the labor market; and 24 hrs against 12.1hrs among the unemployed ones.

“In general, without differing the employed from the unemployed, the number of extra worked hours by women has been growing through time, changing from 9.9 extra hours in 2016 to 10.4 extra hours in 2019. Men only equals woman when they live alone. And even when women are employed in the job market, they do more household chores and caretaking.”, says Ms. Brito.


Black women are the majority in household chores

Regarding color and race, black women (94.1%) are on top and brown men are at the bottom (76.5%) of the rate. Moreover, the highest the education level, the highest the achievement rate of household chores, specially among men. In relation to women, the achievement rate among the ones with complete high school is 93.9% and among the ones with higher degree is 93.4%. Among men, the achievement rates are 81.7% and 85.7%, respectively.

Subsistence production shrinks

Around 12.8 million people dedicate to subsitence, which has been decreasing since 2016 in all regions, totalizing less than 254 thousand people. The achievement rate of production for own consumption is higher among men; the rate also rises with aging, but decreases with educational degrees.

Women produce more than men in manufacture of footwear, apparel, furniture, ceramics, food and other products.

The biggest difference on the average hours between men and women is in crop activities. A curious fact is that in construction , the difference between men (14.4 hrs) and women (13.6 hrs) is quite little.

Almost 7 million people spend 6.6 hrs per week in voluntary work

The survey shows also that about 6.9 million people do voluntary work. After the 2017’s peak (except for the Southeast, which grew in 2018), the achievement rate has been decreasing in almost all Regions, with reduction of 281 thousand people between 2018 and 2019.

However, the average hours devoted to voluntary work increased in the country, changing from 6.5 hrs to 6.6 hrs.

The achievement rate of voluntary work is higher among women and increases with aging and education. The rate is also higher among  black people and the employed ones.