Child Rights & Remedies

By Robert C. Fellmeth | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Child Care

A. CHILD CARE DEMOGRAPHICS

1. Demand

Child care is divided into two markets: fulltime child care for children under five years of age, and parttime (usually after school) care for older children. Fulltime child care is in turn divided into two submarkets: fullday infant care and fullday toddler care.


a. U.S. Full Day Infant and Toddler Care

Of the 21 million children in the United States under 6 years of age, 13 million are in child care. Among children under the age of one, 45% receive regular child care. 1 Child care demand has been driven traditionally by numbers of women in the work force. That demand increasingly includes the parents of very young children. In 1998, 61.9% of women in the United States with children under age 3 were working. 2 And the trend is expected to continue: In 1992, 75% of all women between the ages of 25 and 54 were working; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that proportion to increase to 83% by 2005. 3 In 2000, 78.5% of families maintained by women (no spouse present) included an employed per son; this figure was 0.9% higher than in 1999 and about 9% higher than in 1994. 4 Also in 2000, both parents were employed in 64.2% of married couple families with children under 18. 5

Surveys of the important preschool (fullday) market reveal the identities of current child care providers. Where mothers are employed, almost 39% of children under the age of five are now cared for in another's home; another 25.8% are cared for in organized child care facilities. A 1996 Census Bureau population report found 30% of preschoolers in organized child care facilities (centers), 21% with nonrelative child care providers (family day care or inhome babysitters), 17% with grandparents, 16% with their fathers, 9% with other relatives, and 7% whose mother worked at home or in other miscellaneous arrangements. 6 Care by relatives is substantially higher where family income is below the poverty line, with 60% placed with relatives, compared to 46% of children in higher income families. 7

A 1999 national survey of three to fiveyearolds who were cared for outside the home found a somewhat similar breakdown, with 59.1% in a center based program, 15.9% in “nonrelative” care (either licensed family child care, or with neighbors or friends), and 23.3% with relatives. The ethnic breakdown indi cates substantial differences, with whites using center based programs at 59.4%, nonrelative care 19.3%, and relative care a low 18.8%. Black children of the

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