Child Care Subsidies in Urban and Rural Counties - Research Brief. Summary of Results

07/01/2007

Overall, the paper shows that CCDF served families in both urban and rural areas of the country. By themselves, differences in caseload sizes are difficult to interpret since urban areas contain a much larger share of the nation's population, and thus are likely to contain a larger share of the nation's CCDF children than rural areas. One way to put the caseload sizes into perspective is to compare them to the number of children living in those counties. Although these population comparisons cannot estimate the number of children that are eligible for assistance or "need" child care subsidies, they do provide useful figures for comparison, if interpreted appropriately. Since about 90 percent of CCDF children were below age 10 in FY 2004, the paper presented the population sizes of children ages 0 to 9 (all incomes) by geographic areas from the Census Bureau for comparison purposes.

In general, the distribution of CCDF children aligned to the distribution of all children in each type of county in FY 2004. For example, as shown in Figure 1, rural counties contained about 9 percent of the nation's children ages 0 to 9 and about 8 percent of CCDF children. Urban counties contained about 46 percent of all children ages 0 to 9 and 47 percent of CCDF children.

Figure 1.
Percent of CCDF Children and Percent of All Children Ages 0 to 9 Living in Four Types of Counties.

Figure 1. Percent of CCDF Children and Percent of All Children Ages 0 to 9 Living in Four Types of Counties.

The paper also compared characteristics such as family income and co-payments, demographics, and type of setting of CCDF children residing in different geographical areas. In general, the caseload characteristics of CCDF recipients were somewhat consistent across county types, although there remained some key differences.

In comparison to CCDF children in urban counties, CCDF children in rural counties:

  • were in care for fewer hours per week
  • were more likely to be in family care arrangements and less likely to be in center-based arrangements

In comparison to CCDF families in urban counties, CCDF families in rural counties:

  • were less likely to be headed by single parents
  • were less likely to be receiving assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • were less likely to be using subsidies because the parents were attending education or training programs
  • were more likely to be making out-of-pocket contributions to the cost of care in the form of co-payments

 

A full copy of the paper may be found at:  http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/07/cc-subsidies/

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