Caring for Caregivers: The Landscape of Paid Care Work in Latin America and the Caribbean

Paid care work will represent an important source of employment in coming decades, as care dependence becomes more prevalent, care needs evolve, and the structure of households changes. But there is little systematic data on the care economy for paid caregivers in Latin America and the Caribbean. This report aims to fill this knowledge gap by quantifying the paid care workforce in the region and describing its sociodemographic and economic profile in 17 countries. Using the most recent pre-pandemic microdata from labor and household surveys, the report examines the care economy for care workers who serve children and adults. The study concludes that there are approximately 8.9 million paid caregivers in the region, including 5.8 million paid workers who take care of children and 3.1 million who look after older people and people with disabilities. Most professionals in the sector are women in their early forties with a secondary-level education and with limited access to social protection benefits. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion on paid and unpaid care work by emphasizing the importance of supporting a thriving workforce in the region while redistributing the burden of care in all dimensions of human life.