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Valuing the contribution made by older people to Northern Ireland society

Research undertaken by Development Economics for the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland has revealed the extent of the financial and non-financial contributions made by older people to Northern Ireland society.

Apart from taxes paid on income and expenditure, older people in Northern Ireland were shown to make a number of remarkable yet largely unacknowledged contributions, including:

  • Volunteering in their communities, worth on average over £1 billion per annum
  • Unpaid social care contributions worth nearly £2 billion per year
  • Substantial additional contributions in the form of childcare and, in some cases, replacement parenting, altogether currently worth around £250 million each year.


In addition, older people in Northern Ireland are making significant financial contributions towards younger people, examples including contributions towards the costs of higher education, help towards a deposit on a first home or help towards the cost of a first car. Altogether, these financial transfers by older people within families are estimated to amount to around £300 million every year.

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