1.1 Million More Direct Care Workers Needed by 2030

Workforce | March 13, 2018 | by Barbara Gay

A recent report by the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA) projects that, based on current population and service utilization trends, 3.4 million direct care workers will be needed by 2030, a 1.1 million increase over the 2.3 million people who filled these jobs in 2015. 

The NCHWA,  part of the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, counted certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, and psychiatric assistants/aides as the direct care workforce. It found that workers in this category fill 71% of jobs in the long-term services and supports field. The study included work in all types of settings, both residential and community-based.

If current utilization trends continue, the study predicts that the U.S. will need 1.1 million more direct care workers by 2030. The study also examined the possibility that disability rates could fall as a result of improvements in public health. However, the study concluded that improved public health would result in increased longevity, simply delaying disability trends that create demand for long-term services and supports.

The study noted that in addition to paid services, 87% of people who need long-term services and supports receive at least part of them from unpaid family caregivers. The study estimated that the need for unpaid services would increase from 8.4 million full-time equivalents in 2015 to 13.6 full-time equivalents in 2030, a 62% increase.