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The Growing Need for Eldercare Workers


Occupations related to eldercare will


Tens of millions of babies were born in the United States between 1946 and 1964, and by 2024, nearly 70 million people will be between the ages of 60 and 78. People age 65 and older are projected to make up  23 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population in 2024, up from 18.1 percent in 2014 and 15.5 percent in 2004. As the population ages, they’ll need more workers to care for them in nursing care facilities, retirement communities or at home.

As a result, occupations related to eldercare are projected to be among the fastest growing in the economy over the next decade. In fact, home health aides, personal care aides, registered nurses, nursing assistants and LPNs/LVNs are projected to add more than 1.6 million new jobs by 2024, or about 1 in 6 new jobs added to the economy. Let’s take a closer look at some of these jobs.

Home health aides and personal care aides help older adults, as well as people with disabilities or cognitive impairment, with self-care and everyday tasks like bathing, housekeeping and meal preparation. Home health aides also provide basic health-related services, such as checking vital signs or administering prescribed medications. However, personal care aides cannot provide any medical services. Both occupations work in clients’ homes, long-term care settings, and residential care communities.

Home health aides and personal care aides typically do not need formal education, but most have a high school diploma or equivalent. Both learn their jobs through a brief period of on-the-job training. Home health aides are projected to be the fifth-fastest growing occupation between 2014 and 2024, with more than 348,000 new jobs. Personal care aides are projected to add more than 458,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2024, more than any other occupation.

Nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses work primarily in nursing homes and in hospitals, where they provide basic care. They help patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, using the toilet and getting dressed. Nursing assistants and LPNs/LVNs listen to their patients, record health concerns and report that information to registered nurses and doctors. Depending on their work setting and the state in which they work, LPNs/LVNs may be allowed to perform additional tasks such as giving medication, starting intravenous drips or doing routine laboratory tests.

Nursing assistants and LPNs/LVNs typically need a postsecondary nondegree award to enter the occupation. LPNs/LVNs must also have a license. The economy is projected to add 262,000 new nursing assistant jobs by 2024, and LPNs/LVNs are projected to increase by more than 117,000.

Registered nurses, the largest healthcare occupation, provide and coordinate medical care. In 2014 more than 3 in 5 RNs worked in hospitals. They observe patients, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results, and set up plans for patients’ care. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants and home health aides.

RNs are projected to add 439,300 by 2024, the largest increase after personal care aides. RNs usually take one of three education paths: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program.

Want to know more? Explore these occupations and many more in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Emily Rolen is an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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What does the supply and demand curve look like? What is the impact on wages for these poorly paid workers? Where is the supply of workers who are willing to do this difficult work under technologically poor working conditions.

In reply to by Jim Mulroy (not verified)

There are many people out there that love this work.. The pay is low and this is what needs to be adjusted. These care professionals are working hard and should be paid well for it! There thats the solution....make it work :) When a Corp understands this above all else... He shall not have labor issues.... It will all fall into place and the company ends up making money because the CLIENTS are happy... Not having to train a new one over and over again. This drives quality into the DIRT! You can't take care of people with the bare minimum of staff. Staff is backed up and supported. There is sufficient staff to support residents and staff a like! People will want to come to work.... Staff Centered Care!!!!! Creates happy Residents and Families. You then have Transparent Care! Meaning Good care!


Thanks for your questions, Jim. The BLS projections assume labor market equilibrium in the target year, that is, one in which labor supply meets labor demand except for some level of frictional unemployment. For more information, please see the Handbook of Methods, including the assumptions outlined on page 6: Occupational wage data are available on the BLS website at

We do need oversight in group home settings. We also need more to be done to keep up the independent and quality of life by educator services.This is a win for both caretakers and client populations. Compassionate care and outpatient services need to be evolved. More support for the care takers are needed this includes family members taking on that role. Expansion of in home services, education and care can make a big difference for family. Transparency, we already are working in poor conditions of underpay, understaffed positions and ever burdening systems that have not been maintained as to the infrastructure throughout the healthcare systems.
Thank you to those working to provide service and change!



RE: The Growing Need for Eldercare Workers

The issue I understand are the "workers" mentioned here are workers under specific regulations. Each must have a clinical coordinator or work supervised by a provider. The reason for this is reimbursement and regular supervision of skilled labor. In this instance while it's true, the field will not be able to hold-off, the coming onslaught of growing consumers (as in consumption) not contributing, to the country GDP welfare. Medicare and medicaid boards must reintroduce some other incentive plans because income is becoming a problem. I see more and more of the same scenarios being used such as attempting, to convert skilled labor into volunteer work in attempt to derail earned income.

I seen it too many times in federal government and it's fine for small parts of entry level; otherwise childish applied to the remainder. More than 70% of allied healthcare cannot enter into the upper 30% provider range due, to life events in general or increasing demands at the current level. Having an educational debt with no reimbursement is more merciless. It's no different than asking someone to sacrifice everything just for a meaningless proposition. This isn't a suicide mission. This federal government is starting, to embrace the entitlement culture: asking for everything and returning nothing on investment. Its immaturity must cease!

Thank you,


I been care giver over 20year. I enjoy helping other that are in need.

I was a home health aide years ago, and I enjoyed it. I believe the pay is not much higher now. And the ones that are suffering now and will be in the near future are the elderly. Not enough staff to really take care of them. They get neglected from not getting fed well to not getting bathed and so on. Unfortunately some of these elderly will be some of us.

That's great to hear about it. Where is the supply of workers who are willing to do this difficult work under technologically poor working conditions?

Hi Emily!
This is really a good piece of information you have shared. I think that family members of older adults should also learn basic care techniques so they can be available at the time of emergency or whenever their senior loved ones need them. Having an at-home caregiver can be very helpful for your loved one if you are not available or want to spend quality time with him or her aside from your daily responsibilities.