Wave 2 Initial Findings  |  News

COSMO data provides new insights into the lives of young carers

By COSMO on October 25th, 2023.

New data from wave 2 of the COSMO study has been featured in ITV Tonight’s documentary.

New data from wave 2 of the COSMO study features in ITV Tonight’s documentary Young Carers – A Hidden Crisis, providing unique insights into the lives of young carers and some of the challenges these young people face. 

Demonstrating the rich data available to researchers from the large, nationally representative sample provided by the COSMO study, the analysis reveals that: 

  • Young carers are more than twice as likely as their peers to experience food poverty, at 37% compared 16% of non-carers. 

  • They are significantly more likely to experience psychological distress, at over half (56%), compared to 43% of non-carers. For those caring for at least two years, the figure was even higher, at 60%. 

  • Nearly a third of all young carers said, ‘people like me don’t have much of a chance in life’, double the rate of non-carers who said this (29% compared to 16%).  

Overall, 12% of 16/17 year-olds say that they have caring responsibilities. But this differs substantially between groups, depending on their ethnicity, location, family structure, and socio-economic background. 

They are more than twice as likely to live in the most deprived areas of the country (16%) than in the least deprived (7%) and are more likely to come from working class households than those with professional / managerial parents. 

Young carers are more likely to be Bangladeshi (16%), Black Caribbean, Pakistani and Indian (15%) than White (11%) and to live in multi-generational, larger households. 

The wide range of insights provided through the study’s wave 2 questionnaire will enable further in-depth analysis into the lives, aspirations and challenges for young carers. 

Researchers from the COSMO team are working with the Carers Trust to look at what additional support young carers need to ensure they can reach their potential. 

The wave 2 dataset, when the cohort was aged 17/18, will be available to researchers through the UK Data Service in November.