Volume 50 | Number 3 | June 2015

Abstract List

Amalavoyal V. Chari Ph.D., John Engberg Ph.D., Kristin N. Ray M.D., Ateev Mehrotra M.D.,M.P.H.


To provide nationally representative estimates of the opportunity costs of informal elder‐care in the United States.

Data Sources

Data from the 2011 and 2012 American Time Use Survey.

Study Design

Wage is used as the measure of an individual's value of time (opportunity cost), with wages being imputed for nonworking individuals using a selection‐corrected regression methodology.

Principal Findings

The total opportunity costs of informal elder‐care amount to $522 billion annually, while the costs of replacing this care by unskilled and skilled paid care are $221 billion and $642 billion, respectively.


Informal caregiving remains a significant phenomenon in the United States with a high opportunity cost, although it remains more economical (in the aggregate) than skilled paid care.