Paid care work around the globe: A comparative analysis of 47 countries and territories

Authors/editor(s): Mignon Duffy and Amy Armenia

This paper uses harmonized collections of national labor force datasets to compare the size and shape of the paid care sector around the globe. Paid care workers make up three of the four points of the “care diamond” organizing care provision in any national context: markets, the not-for-profit sector, and the state (the fourth point is families / households).

After explaining our definition of paid care, focused on health care, education, child care, and social services, this paper examines the size and characteristics of the paid care sector, finding enormous variation across countries.

The paper then explores the relationship between the size of the care sector and various measures of need for care, finding very little evidence of relationship.

Finally, the paper explores wages and working conditions for paid care workers in a subset of countries for which data is available.

This paper is part of the “UN Women discussion paper series”.

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Bibliographic information

Subject area(s): Economic empowerment; Employment; Migration; Migrant workers; Unpaid work

Resource type: Discussion papers; Research papers

Series: UN Women discussion paper series

UN Women office involved in publication: UN Women Headquarters

Publication year: 2021

Number of pages: 33

Publishing entities: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)