Family Expenditures on Child Care

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher J Ruhm, Jefferson-Pilot Excellence Professor (Creator)
Dan T. Rosenbaum (Contributor)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This study examines the child care “expenditure share,” defined as child care expenses divided by after-tax income. We estimate that the average child under six years of age lives in a family that spends 4.9 percent of after-tax income on child care. However, this conceals wide variation: 63 percent of such children reside in families with no child care expenses and 10 percent are in families where the expenditure share exceeds 16 percent. The proportion of income devoted to child care is typically greater in single-parent than married-couple families but is not systematically related to a constructed measure of socioeconomic status. One reason for this is that disadvantaged families use lower cost modes and pay less per hour for given types of care. The expenditure share would be much less equal without low cost (presumably subsidized) formal care focused on needy families, as well as government tax and transfer policies that redistribute income towards them.

Additional Information

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 7: Iss. 1 (Topics), Article 34.
Language: English
Date: 2007
child care, expenditure share, parental employment, work-family balance

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