The direct-care workforce, which includes home health aides, personal care aides, and nursing assistants, is projected to be the nation’s largest workforce at 5 million workers by 2020, according to a new Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) analysis.
Home care jobs—encompassing home health aides and personal care aides—are the nation’s fastest growing jobs and are expected to increase 69% and 71%, respectively, between 2010 and 2020.
Source: PHI Facts 3
Nursing aide, orderly, and attendant positions are expected to increase by 20%, and, all told, these direct-care jobs are projected to add an additional 1.6 million jobs to the economy.
Direct-care workers make up nearly a third of the entire U.S. healthcare workforce, at 30.6%, according to PHI, outnumbering many other healthcare practitioners including doctors, nurses, and therapists.
Healthcare is shifting toward home- and community-based settings, and the PHI analysis found that a majority of the roughly 4 million direct-care workers in 2011 were employed in these settings.
By 2020, workers employed in HCBS are expected to outnumber facility workers by more than two-to-one.
Despite this, wages and benefits of direct-care workers continue to worsen, according to the analysis. The median wage for direct-care workers in 2011, at $10.59, was well below the median wage of U.S. workers, at $16.57. “Moreover, adjusted for inflation, wages for all direct-care workers have declined over the last decade,” says PHI.
In correlation with declining wages and benefits, more and more direct-care workers live in poor households (households with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line), with the number increasing 3 percentage points to 47% since 2008.
View the PHI Facts 3 May 2012 analysis here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace