This article investigates the prevalence of unpaid caregiving by local authority district in England and Wales, using data from a new question on caregiving in the 2001 Census. We also examine geographic variation in the characteristics of unpaid care providers including health status, socio-economic status and ethnicity. Results show clear geographic variations in caregiving. The proportion of adults providing more than 20 hours of care per week ranged from less than 2 per cent to nearly 8 per cent. The highest proportions of caregivers were found in areas with higher than average levels of deprivation and long-term illness. Carers in such areas were themselves more likely to be in poor health. There are also clear variations in caregiving propensity by ethnic group.