Matching Non-Parental Child Care Usage and Preferences by Race/Ethnicity: Is It Connected to Maternal Work Stability?

Paola Tami Aritomi, Pennsylvania State University

Although studies evidence that using child care arrangements suitable to mothers' preferences increase maternal work stability, little is known about child care usage and their consequences on maternal work stability over time. Utilizing the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation, we examine non-parental child care arrangement usage vs. preference patterns' effects on maternal work stability by race/ethnicity. Based on qualitative research we hypothesize that White mothers prefer center-based, while Blacks and Hispanics prefer family-based arrangements. Deviations from these preferences reduce mothers' work stability. Results show that Blacks are less likely to rely on paid family-based care and Hispanics are more likely to use unpaid and paid family-based, compared to center-based arrangements. Family-based arrangement usage increases Hispanic (although not Blacks) mothers' work stability, compared to Whites. Additionally, biological father presence, state level child care policies and labor market characteristics have important effects on child care usage and mothers work stability.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Families, Parenting, Adolescents, and Children