Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



In Massachusetts, as in every other place in the world, all children need to be cared for and educated, everybody has physical and mental health needs that require attention, and some individuals need assistance with the daily tasks of life because of illness, age, or disability. The labor of meeting these needs – which we call care work – is a complex activity that has profound implications for personal, social and economic well-being. Care work is not just a cornerstone of our economy – it is a rock-bottom foundation. Care work provides the basis for our human infrastructure, and we need it to navigate through life as surely as we need our roads and bridges.

This report measures the role of care work in the Commonwealth in 2007 by examining in detail three intersecting spheres: paid care work, unpaid care work, and government investment in care. We include in the care sector the labor and resources devoted to the daily care of Massachusetts residents, especially children, the elderly and those who are disabled; the provision of K-12 education; and the administration of health care to both the well and the sick, regardless of age.


This research was made possible by a grant from the Creative Economy Initiative of the University of Massachusetts President’s Office.



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