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[Poll Results]

The Caregiver Survey done by Social Agenda, a New York based non-profit women's think tank and advocacy center, was designed to prompt the respondents to think in a very personal context about their own families and needs. As such, it differs from similar polls focusing on the needs and rights of poor families in which respondents tend to support more restrictive and less generous social policies. This survey was also constructed so that respondents would understand the meaning of a caregiver credit from prior questions. Given these imperatives, the following information was garnered.

Americans believe strongly that taking care of family members is socially and economically vital work that should be supported through a tax credit. Two-thirds of those responding to the survey are themselves taking care of children, parents or other family or friends. Half of respondents filled out the questionnaire on-line. The other half was randomly selected "on the street".

The survey shows that most Americans are taking responsibility to provide care to someone else - child or adult - and that it is a job they take seriously. They want to make their own decisions about what is best for family members, but they also believe, overwhelmingly, that government should help with the financial burdens of caregiving.

Key findings of the poll are as follows:
Giving Care or being responsible for alternate care is expensive and time consuming.
  • 88.8% said: "Being a caregiver is expensive because of unpaid hours spent away from a paying job."
  • 96.3% also agreed with the statement: "Paying for alternatives like a daycare center, nanny or nursing home is expensive."
    Caregiving is more important than it's cracked up to be.
  • 97.8% agree that caregiving is valuable to society as well as to those who are cared-for.
  • 93.7% agree "Giving care is work."
    Government should help caregivers via tax credits.
  • 96.8% support a Caregiver Credit through the tax system for those who give direct care to children and or adults in need.
  • 95.6% support a credit for those who pay for and take responsibility for the quality of care of family or friends in a nursing home, childcare center or other care alternative.

    1005 people participated in the Social Agenda Caregiver Survey through July 27, 2002.

    Approximately half the respondents nationwide took the survey on-line at Social Agenda's website, www.caregivercredit.org. The other half was solicited from "persons on the street". Of the latter, about two thirds were in New York City at colleges, churches, parks, and tourist areas where non-New Yorkers would be. There were no significant differences between on-line and street respondents. There were also no significant differences by gender, income, or race, though women willing to take the poll outnumbered men, by 3 to 1. (Counting raising children, over 90% of all caregivers in the United States are women.)

    The questions were designed to elicit people's views regarding their own family experience rather than abstract public policy issues applying to some defined "other."

    Social Agenda (S/A) is a New York-based non-profit women's think tank and advocacy center. S/A sponsors the National Caregiver Credit Campaign. The campaign was officially launched in 2000 when it developed and led a successful national effort to make the child tax credit refundable. Millions of low-income parents previously disqualified became eligible for the child tax credit. According to White House estimates, the amount of these modifications totaled 9.2 billion dollars in the final 2001 tax package. It improved income of millions of families, lifted hundreds of thousands above the poverty line, and was the only tax benefit targeted to low-income families in 2001.

    It is time to convert the credit to a caregiver credit to cover children and adults in need. This survey demonstrates the real political support for it.

    For more survey details go to www.caregiver.org.

    Reproductions of any of this material must site Social Agenda, Inc. as the source.

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