Facts and figures on long-term care

Europe and North America




Huber, M., Rodrigues, R., Hoffmann, F., Gasior, K. & Marin, B. (2009). Facts and Figures on Long-Term Care. Europe and North America, Occasional Reports Series 6. Vienna: European Centre.


This book displays new data on up to 56 countries of the UN-European region (comprising North America, Europe including Russia, Central Asia and Israel).

Despite growing concerns over ageing and its social and fiscal impact, surprisingly scarce information is available on basic indicators concerning long-term care for dependent older people. The present publication seeks to fill this gap of knowledge as it searches for answers to queries and puzzles such as?

What exactly do we mean by long-term care? Where to set the boundaries between family or informal and formal care, between home and residential / institutional care, between public and privately financed care?

Will demographic ageing further accelerate? How much gain in life ahead at retirement age and during the decades of third age are actually observed and to be expected in the future? To what an extent will longer lives correspond to healthier ones? Are there limits in shifting the oldest-old threshold - and correspondingly increased dependency risks - upwards?

What are the typical living arrangements of older people? How do they differ across countries, or between women and men? What are the social implications of living alone, in couples, with children or others? How much mobility is there in later life? And how much of it is preferred, expected, or involuntary?

Who provides care for dependent older people within the family? Is care-giving always a women?s world? How do adult children and dependent parents feel about care arrangements? Who shares which burdens? Can work and family duties be balanced? What are people?s preferences?

What are the differences between cash for care and attendance allowances or care leaves? How do the roles of residential care change? Is care provided mostly in institutions or at home? Where is formal care most widely available? Why are there so many more women than men in residential care?

Which countries spend the most in long-term care? Most people are cared for at home? is that where most money is spent? What are the public / private mixes in long-term care spending? What does a closer look at country differences in expenditure levels, spending patterns and forms of generosity disclose? What trade-offs are there between different forms of generosity ? and which ones are fiscally or socially sustainable?

Are cash benefits one effective way to keep expenditure under control? What if....all countries would spend up to the EU-15 level? Demographics alone are the main driving force behind expenditure in long-term care? or not? How much can it cost to be cared for in an institution?

This publication is part of the MA:IMI project and we are very grateful to our sponsor countries and organisations for this publication:

Austria, France, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, the European Commission and UNECE.


European Centre reports