New PHI Research Brief Focuses on Illinois Home Care Workers

April 17, 2017

PHI released issue 6 in its #60CaregiverIssues campaign, a national public education campaign to tackle the growing workforce shortage in paid caregiving.

The newest issue—Home Care Workers in Illinois: Key Facts—provides a comprehensive analysis of the home care workforce in Illinois, including demographics, size and composition, job quality indicators, and employment projections.

Key findings from the new research brief include:

  • The home care workforce in Illinois more than doubled in size in recent years, increasing from 37,400 workers in 2005 to 81,200 workers in 2015.
  • Home care worker wages stagnated over the same period: inflation-adjusted wages were $10.57 in 2005 and $10.59 in 2015.
  • Because of low wages and inconsistent hours in 2015, home care workers in Illinois earned a median annual income of $12,600. Additionally, 26 percent lived in poverty and 53 percent relied on some form of public assistance.
  • From 2014 to 2024, the state will need approximately 17,900 new home care workers.

PHI’s analysis could also inform strategies to resolve the state’s fiscal challenges. Home care providers have faced steep funding reductions from the state over the past two years, largely the result of an ongoing budget impasse between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) and the state legislature, according to an article posted by Progress Illinois. In response, PHI’s findings suggest that an additional investment in job quality could attract the additional workers needed to meet the growing demand for services in Illinois.

This research brief was produced as part of PHI’s project to promote quality care through quality jobs in Illinois. These efforts also include a successful pilot project that brought high-quality home care worker training to three agencies in the Chicagoland area. An upcoming issue in PHI’s #60CaregiverIssues campaign will explore how this project improved training outcomes for home care workers.

--By Stephen Campbell, PHI Policy Research Associate



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