Child Care
 
Estimated Number of Printed Pages: 7
 
TOPICS COVERED: Ever since the Industrial Revolution, working parents have been struggling with how to care for children when they're at work. And the problem is a consistent struggle between never having enough affordable care, and the equally constant need to improve the quality of that care. It may seem overwhelming – particularly when you're the dad rushing across town to pick up your kid before day care closes – perhaps the good news is that – internationally – we never think good is good enough for our kids. At the turn of the century, child care in New York was a few toddlers playing by themselves unsupervised on their apartment building's roof. Even European countries that have comparatively universal access to child care – availability an American parent couldn't dream of – complain their systems aren't good enough.

So here's some material on how parents arrange care for their children on a daily basis. That includes formal programs such as child care centers, and informal use of relatives, babysitters, and others. No discussion of child care could be complete without addressing the importance of grandparents caring for their grandchildren, so please see that related memo for additional information regarding their roles as caregivers. In addition to the information relating to child care, we also have information about rates of enrollment in early child development programs and preschool.
 
MEMOS ON RELATED INFORMATION: Caregivers at Work, Fathers and Sons, Keeping Up With The Joneses (regarding child care costs on the impact of U.S. families), Mothers and Daughters, Grandparents, Housework, How People Spend Their Time, Modern Child Development (regarding children's time use and activities), and Education.
 
Links to Sources for this material are available below. Please also see The Factbook Sources page for further information regarding Factbook sources and their availability.
 
 

PAGE INDEX:

 

CHILD CARE

PRESCHOOL / EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

 
 

CHILD CARE

 
 
 
 
89 percent
of U.S. preschool aged children with working mothers – that's over 8.7 million children out of 9.8 million – are in some form of regularly arranged child care. 1.
 
 
31 percent
of U.S. preschool aged children with mothers who are not employed – that's over 2.5 million out of 8.2 million children – are in some form of regularly arranged child care. Regular was defined as at least once a week. 2.
 
 
40.2 percent
Of U.S. preschools in regular child care, for 40.2 percent of them, "child care" means being cared for by a parent, grandparent or other relative. 3.
 
 
For 23 percent
of the children in the U.S. under the age of five who have regularly arranged child care – that care is coming from their grandparents. Regular was defined as at least once a week. 4.
 
 
 
For 14.2 percent
of the children in the U.S. under the age of five who have regularly arranged child care – that care is coming from their fathers. Regular was defined as at least once a week. 5.
 
 
Almost one-fourth
of preschool-aged children with regularly arranged child care go to organized facilities. 13 percent are going to day care; six percent are going to nursery schools or preschools. 6.
 
 
 
$95
Average weekly amount spent on child care by an average U.S. family with a working mother in 2002. 7.
 
 
 
About seven percent
of that U.S. average family's income went to child care expenses in 2002. For family under the poverty level, however, child care expenses were 25.1 percent of their income. 8.
 
 
 
$67.40
Average weekly amount spent on child care in 1984, in 2002 dollars. But don't bother getting nostalgic for how much cheaper it was back then. Child care's been averaging about six to seven percent of a family's income for about the past 20 years. 9.
 
 
 
More than half
of American mothers of children under the age of five have atypical work schedules – such as they have to work late or on weekends, or their schedules change – depend on at least two different caregivers for their children's care. 10.
 
 
 
One-fourth
of Australian children under the age of 12 were in a formal child care program in 2001. Another one-third of the children were in informal child care settings. The most widely used form of child care in Australia: grandparents. 11.
 
 
 
4.6 percent
of children in the Netherlands under the age of four were in child care from those other than relatives in 1989. 12.
 
 
 
22.5 percent
of children in the Netherlands under the age of four were in child care from those other than relatives in 2001. 13.
 
 
 
One-half
of Belgian children over the age of six months are in child care – and most of them are in formal programs. 14.
 
 
 
Two-thirds
of those Belgian children are in formal child care programs. Most of the remaining third are with their grandparents. 15.
 
 
 
17 percent
of Canadian two-parent families had their preschool-aged children in child care. 36 percent of single parents had their kids in day care. 16.
 
 
 
In Sweden,
local governments are required by law to provide child care for all children over one year old with working parents. 17.
 
 
 
17 percent
of Kenyan working mothers of children under six have relatives looking after their children. Of those, 15 percent of them are being cared for by an older sister or brother. 18.
 
 
 
About 1,000 –
the number of full-day day care centers in Israel for babies age three months and over, and toddlers. Most are state-subsidized. 19.
 
 
 
In use for decades –
public child care facilities in China, due to a large number of women in the workforce. And the number of children in those programs has grown from 1,800 in 1950 to over 181,000 in 1998. 20.
 
 
 
76.6 percent
of Denmark's infants and toddlers were in day care in 2001, an increase of 10.2 percent from a decade earlier. 21.
 
 
 
92.4 percent
of Denmark's children aged three to five were in day care in 2001. 22.
 
 
 
48 percent
of Finland's children under the age of six are in day care. Of these, 83 percent of them are in day care full time. 23.
 
 
 
42.5 percent
of all Ireland's families with preschool-age children use child care. For 31 percent of those families, the caregiver is another relative who isn't paid. But 8,000 families pay another relative to watch their children. 24.
 
 
 
Five percent
of Italian families with a child up to age 15 paid for a babysitter in 2000. 25.
 
 
 
One percent
of all Finland's families have a paid nanny to care for their children. 26.
 
 
 
One out of 20
American children are cared for by a nanny or baby-sitter on a regular, ongoing basis. 27.
 
 
 
86 percent
of women in Kuwait and 90 percent of women in Qatar support most families’ reliance upon maids and babysitters as child care providers – even if the mothers are not employed outside the home. This reliance on other the maid/sitters is despite the fact that some researchers argue that these – predominantly emigrant – maids/babysitters do not have the language and cultural skills to raise Arabic children, and the children's resulting poor socialization is a major problem facing the contemporary Persian Gulf family. 28.
 
 
 
Lack of affordable child care is a problem in many nations including –

– the U.K., where researchers have argued that the unavailability of child care is British mothers' main barrier to employment. 29.
 
– Greece, where the number of public day care services is considered inadequate and the number of families using them – including kindergartens – is very low. 30.
 
– Belgium, where the number of children who need after-school care exceeds the number of available places. 31.

 
 
Women are still the caregivers –
In Belgium, 98 percent of those working in child care are women. In Sweden, it's an "overwhelming majority." 32.
 
 
 
Education and work –
change the type of child care mothers in the Netherlands use. More educated women, those who earn a higher income, send their children to formal child care centers, while those with lower educations and less income use informal child care – usually the grandparents. 33.
 
 
 
Almost 60 percent –
of Italians surveyed thought that government responsibilities should be extended to looking after children. That's considered a low figure: it's higher in other European countries. 34.
 
 
One-half
of Australian children under the age of 11 receive child care from someone other than their parents, whether formally or informally. 35.
 
 
 
25 percent
of Australian children under the age of 11 are in formal child care – double the percentage in 1984. 36.
 
 

CHILD CARE

 
 

PRESCHOOL / EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

 
 
35 percent
of France's two-year-old children were in preschool in 1998. In the west of France, that figure rose to about 60 percent. 37.
 
 
 
100 percent
of France's children aged three to five years old were in preschool in 1998. 38.
 
 
 
Almost all
of Belgium's children age two and half to three years-old go to a full-day preschool. 39.
 
 
 
71 percent –
of American children age three to six years old are in full or part time "early childhood education and care." 40.
 
 
 
48 percent –
of Portuguese children age three to six years old are in full or part time "early childhood education and care." 41.
 
 
 
71 percent –
of American children age three to six years old are in full or part time "early childhood education and care." 42.
 
 
 
80 percent –
of Australian children age three to six years old are in full or part time "early childhood education and care." 43.
 
 
 
Over 90 percent
of Japanese preschool-age children have been enrolled in either preschools and government-run day care centers before they began the formal school system. 44.
 
 
________________________________________________
 
1. Regular was defined as at least once a week. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
2. Regular was defined as at least once a week. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
3. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
4. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
5. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
6. Regular was defined as at least once a week. Based on a study of what was a typical week in Winter 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
7. As of 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
8. As of 2002. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
9. Julia Overturf Johnson, Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Winter 2002, Current Population Reports, Household Economic Studies, P70-101. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (October 2005), pp. 2-3. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p70-101.pdf
10. _______, "24/7 Economy’s Work Schedules Are Family Unfriendly and Suggest Needed Policy Changes," Amer. Sociological Assoc. Press Release (May 25, 2004).
11. David De Vaus, "Australian Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA (2005), p. 74. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
12. Hans-Joachim Schulze, General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 11. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Netherlands.pdf
13. Hans-Joachim Schulze, General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 11. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Netherlands.pdf
14. Wilfried Dumon, "Belguim's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 215-234 (2005), p. 219. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
15. Wilfried Dumon, "Belgium's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 215-234 (2005), p. 219. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
16. Carol D. H. Harvey, "Families in Canada," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 539-559, 543 (2005)(citation omitted). Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
17. Jan Trost and Irene Levin, "Scandinavian Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 347-363 (2005), p. 351. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 See also Eva Bernhardt, The Situation of Families in Sweden in the 1990s, European Observatory on Family Matters (2001), p. 4. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_01_sweden_bernhardt_en.pdf and Sheila B. Kamerman, Michelle Neuman, Jane Waldfogel, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Social Policies, Family Types, and Child Outcomes in Selected OECD Countries, OECD Social, Employment, and Migration Working Papers, No.6 (May 20, 2003), p. 58. Archived at: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/26/46/2955844.pdf
18. Edward K. Mburugu and Bert N. Adams, "Families in Kenya," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 3-24 (2005), p. 12. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
19. Ruth Katz and Yoav Lavee, "Families in Israel," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 486-506 (2005), p. 491. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
20. Xuewen Sheng, "Chinese Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 99-128 (2005). Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
21. Jens Bonke, "Families in Denmark: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 10. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Denmark.pdf
22. Jens Bonke, "Families in Denmark: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 10. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Denmark.pdf
23. Sirpa Taskinen, "Families in Finland: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 14. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Finland.pdf
24. Valerie Richardson, "Families in Ireland: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 14. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Ireland.pdf
25. Giovanni B. Sgritta, "Families in Italy: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004). p. 5. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Italy.pdf
26. Sirpa Taskinen, "Families in Finland: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 13. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Finland.pdf
27. ________, "Nearly 3 Out of 4 Young Children with Employed Mothers are Regularly in Child Care," Urban Institute (April 28, 2004). Available at: http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=900706.
28. Yahya El-Haddad, "Major Trends Affecting Families in the Gulf Countries," Major Trends Affecting Families: A Background Document, Report for United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Social Policy and Development, Program on the Family (200_), pp. 5-6. Archived at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/Publications/mtelhaddad.pdf
29. Ceridwen Roberts, The Situation of Families in the UK, 1997-2002, European Observatory on Family Matters (2002), p. 3 (citation omitted). Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_02_uk_roberts_en.pdf
30. Christos Bagavos, The Situation of Families in Greece, 2001, European Observatory on Family Matters (2001), p. 6. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_01_greece_bagavos.pdf
31. Wilfried Dumon, The Situation of Families in Belgium, 1996-2001, European Observatory on Family Matters (2001), p. 15. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_01_belgium_dumon.pdf
32. Wilfried Dumon, "Families in Belgium: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters, (2004), p. 13. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Belgium.pdf. Eva Bernhardt, "Families in Sweden: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 7. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Sweden.pdf
33. Hans-Joachim Schulze, General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters (2004), p. 11. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Netherlands.pdf
34. Giovanni B. Sgritta, The Situation of Families in Italy in 2001, European Observatory on Family Matters (2001), p. 2 (citation omitted). Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_01_italy_sgritta_en.pdf
35. David De Vaus, "Australian Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 67-98 (2005), p. 73. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
36. As of 2002. David De Vaus, "Australian Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 67-98 (2005), p. 73. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
37. Claude Martin, "Families in France: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters, (2004), p. 4. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_France.pdf
38. Claude Martin, "Families in France: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters, (2004), p. 4. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_France.pdf
39. Wilfried Dumon, "Families in Belgium: Policies, Challenges and Opportunities," General Monitoring Report, 2004, European Observatory on Family Matters, (2004), p. 13. Archived at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/eoss/downloads/gm_04_Belgium.pdf
40. ________, Table 1.21, "Percent of married/cohabiting mothers and lone mothers, employed in selected OECS countries and percentage of young children in out of home ECEC," The Clearinghouse for International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University, New York, NY (updated July 2004), citing Sheila B. Kamerman, "Early Childhood education and care . . . ," International Journal of Educational Research, 33, pp. 7-29. Available at: http://www.childpolicyintl.org/ecectables/Table%201.21%20Percent%20of%20married%20cohabiting%20mothers%20and%20lone%20mothers%20employed.pdf
41. ________, Table 1.21, "Percent of married/cohabiting mothers and lone mothers, employed in selected OECS countries and percentage of young children in out of home ECEC," The Clearinghouse for International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University, New York, NY (updated July 2004), citing Sheila B. Kamerman, "Early Childhood education and care . . . ," International Journal of Educational Research, 33, pp. 7-29. Available at: http://www.childpolicyintl.org/ecectables/Table%201.21%20Percent%20of%20married%20cohabiting%20mothers%20and%20lone%20mothers%20employed.pdf
42. ________, Table 1.21, "Percent of married/cohabiting mothers and lone mothers, employed in selected OECS countries and percentage of young children in out of home ECEC," The Clearinghouse for International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University, New York, NY (updated July 2004), citing Sheila B. Kamerman, "Early Childhood education and care . . . ," International Journal of Educational Research, 33, pp. 7-29. Available at: http://www.childpolicyintl.org/ecectables/Table%201.21%20Percent%20of%20married%20cohabiting%20mothers%20and%20lone%20mothers%20employed.pdf
43. ________, Table 1.21, "Percent of married/cohabiting mothers and lone mothers, employed in selected OECS countries and percentage of young children in out of home ECEC," The Clearinghouse for International Developments in Child, Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University, New York, NY (updated July 2004), citing Sheila B. Kamerman, "Early Childhood education and care . . . ," International Journal of Educational Research, 33, pp. 7-29. Available at: http://www.childpolicyintl.org/ecectables/Table%201.21%20Percent%20of%20married%20cohabiting%20mothers%20and%20lone%20mothers%20employed.pdf
44. Ronald E. Dolan and Robert L. Worden (eds), Library of Congress Country Study: Japan (1994), section on preschool and day care. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program sponsored by the Department of the Army. Online edition at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/jptoc.html