Using multiple datasets on parental and non-parental care provided to children up to age six, we quantify differences in American children's care experiences by socioeconomic status (SES), proxied primarily with maternal education. Increasingly, higher SES children spend less time with their parents and more time in the care of others. Non-parental care for high-SES children is more likely to be in childcare centers, where average quality is higher, and less likely to be provided by relatives, where average quality is lower. Even within types of childcare, higher-SES children tend to receive care of higher measured quality and higher cost. Inequality is evident at home as well: measures of parental enrichment at home, from both self-reports and outside observers, are on average higher for higher-SES children. Parental and non-parental quality are positively correlated, leading to substantial inequality in the total quality of care received from all sources in early childhood. (author abstract)
Inequality in early care experienced by U.S. children
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