Trends in the Use of Early Care and Education, 1995-2011: Descriptive Analysis of Child Care Arrangements from National Survey Data. Maternal Employment


In both the CPS and NHES data, children with and without employed mothers were about equally likely over this time period to attend public preschool/centers without payment (in some years the differences were significant, but still small).  However, children with employed mothers were much more likely to attend private preschool/centers with payment compared to their peers with non-employed moms.  As shown in Figure 21, both groups increased their attendance in public preschool from 1995 to 2011 (18 to 30 percent for children of employed mothers; 20 to 26 percent for children of non-employed mothers).  Private preschool enrollment decreased among both groups in the CPS from 33 to 26 percent of preschoolers with employed mothers and from 21 to 17 percent of preschoolers with non-employed mothers.  The NHES, however, showed no changes in preschooler enrollment in either centers with or without family payment for children with employed or non-employed mothers (NHES Tables 2.7 and 3.7).

Among infants and toddlers with employed mothers, there was a shift from non-center to center care from 1995 to 2005.  This pattern is further broken down in Figure 22, showing that there was an increase in centers with a family payment (from 15 to 25 percent) and a decrease in non-centers with a payment (from 40 to 26 percent).  The very low enrollment in centers without a family payment for infants and toddlers aligns with the relatively low supply of public ECE options for this age group.  In contrast to the children of employed mothers, there was very little change in the use of paid center care for infants and toddlers with non-employed mothers.  This group increased their use of centers with payment from four to six percent and did not change in their use of non-centers with payment.  Note that children with employed mothers were about equally likely to be in paid center (25 percent) and paid non-center care (26 percent) in 2005 (NHES Table 2.1).

Figure 21. Children Ages 3 and 4, Public and Private Preschool Participation Rates, By Maternal Employment Status

Figure 22. Children Under Age 3, in Centers and Non-centers With and Without Payment, by Maternal Employment Status and by Year

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