Monday, March 10, 2008

Nearly Half of Preschoolers Receive Child Care from Relatives

Relatives regularly provide child care to almost half of the more than 19 million preschoolers, according to tabulations released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Fathers and grandparents were the primary relative child care providers.

The series of tables, Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements:
Spring 2005, showed that among the 11.3 million children younger than 5 whose mothers were employed, 30 percent were cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent during their mother’s working hours. A slightly greater percentage spent time in an organized care facility, such as a day care center, nursery or preschool. Meanwhile, 25 percent received care from their fathers, 3 percent from siblings and 8 percent from other relatives when mothers went to work.

The tables provide data on child care arrangements of preschoolers and grade-schoolers by various demographic characteristics of the employed mother. They also profile children who care for themselves on a regular basis and examine the size of weekly child care payments made by selected characteristics of the family.

Other highlights:

-- Preschoolers with employed black and Hispanic mothers were more
likely to be cared for by their grandparents than their fathers. Among
preschoolers of employed non-Hispanic white mothers, about
the same percentage were cared for by their fathers and their grandparents
(29 percent).

-- Preschoolers whose mothers worked a night or evening shift were
more likely to have their father as a child care provider than those whose
mothers worked day shifts (39 percent and 18 percent,

-- Eighty-nine percent of children younger than 5 with employed
mothers were in a regular child care arrangement, compared with 63 percent
of their grade school-age counterparts.

-- Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15
paid an average of $107 per week for child care in 2005, up from $73 in

-- Families with an employed mother and a child younger than 5
paid more, on average, per week for child care than those whose children
were each 5 and older ($129 compared with $97).

-- Families in poverty who paid for child care in 2005 spent a
greater proportion of their monthly income on child care than did families
at or above the poverty level (29 percent compared with 6

-- Among all children, self-care was much more prevalent among
middle school-age children than among those in elementary schools: 6
percent of ages 5 to 11 and 33 percent of ages 12 to 14 regularly
cared for themselves.

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