NEW YORK—With more than half a million direct-care workers, California is home to the nation’s largest numbers of personal care attendants, home health aides, and nursing aides, according to a new analysis from PHI.
Direct-care workers constitute the second largest occupational group in the state today, second only to teachers from K-12 plus special education, and larger than retail salespersons and all law enforcement/public safety workers, according to the analysis, which is in PHI State Facts: California’s Direct-Care Workforce.
PHI projects that from 2008 to 2018, demand for direct-care jobs will increase by 260,000.
California’s direct-care workforce is also the most diverse in the country, according to the analysis. Minorities comprise 70% of the workforce and foreign born workers comprise 50%. Nationally, 51% of direct-care workers are minorities and 23% are born outside the United States.
The analysis also reports that wages for direct-care jobs in California are so low that they place 42% of direct-care worker households below 200% of the federal poverty line, making them eligible to qualify for many state and federal assistance programs.
In 2009, the median hourly wage for all occupations in California was $17.92. Home health aides and personal care aides’ wages are among the state’s lowest at $10.12 and $10.28, respectively. The median hourly wage for nurse aides in the state is $12.42.
Twenty-nine percent of all direct-care workers in California are uninsured. Home healthcare workers are more likely than nursing care facility workers to be uninsured: 30% compared to 23%, respectively.
Roughly three quarters of all direct-care workers in California are employed in home- and community-based settings. Just 20% of California’s direct-care workforce is employed in nursing homes and hospitals, compared to 35% nationally.