Related BLS programs | Related articles
October 1991, Vol. 114, No. 10
Child care: arrangements and costs
Jonathan R. Veum and Philip M. Gleason
Child care has become an important public policy issue in the United States. The attention drawn to child care stems primarily from the changing employment and demographic patterns of women. In 1970, 28.7 percent of mothers with children under age 6 were in the labor force; by 1990, this percentage had doubled, reaching 58.2 percent.1
The composition of families also has changed significantly over the past 20 years. In particular, among families with children, the number of single mothers has grown in importance. Between 1970 and 1988, families headed by women increased from 10.6 percent to 16.3 percent of all families. Two reasons are given for this increase: (1) the percentage of women age 18 and older who were divorced but had not remarried increased from 3.9 percent in 1970 to 8.8 percent in 1988, and (2) the frequency of births to unwed mothers increased from 10.7 percent of total births in 1970 to 24.5 percent in 1987.2
Because of these major social changes, the government's role in subsidizing child care has been expanding. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that the Federal Government spent nearly $7 billion on child-care assistance programs in 1988,3 in addition to the amount spent by State and local governments. The Child-care and Development Block Grant' will expand the role of both State and Federal Governments in the provision of child care.
This article discusses a number of issues related to child care in the United States. In particular, the types of child-care arrangements used, and factors that determine the type of arrangement, such as the child's age, the mother's marital status, and the net income of the child's family are analyzed. The expenditures for child care by different population groups are also examined, as well as the degree to which childcare concerns limit the employment opportunities of the mother.
This excerpt is from an article published in the October 1991 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (471K)
1 March 1990 Current Population Survey, unpublished tabulations (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
2 These numbers are taken from the 1980 and 1990 Statistical Abstracts of the United States (Bureau of the Census).
3 U.S. Department of Labor, Child-care: A Workforce Issue, Report of the Secretary's Task Force, 1988.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers