Child Care Choices and Expenditures in Urban China: 1989-1997

Qin Gao, Columbia University
Fuhua Zhai, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This is a pioneering study in examining the recent trends of child care choices and expenditures in urban China. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1997 waves, we find a sharp decline in use of work-unit centers and a significant increase in use of private centers. Multinomial models and generalized ordered logistic regressions indicate that higher education and income levels are associated with higher possibility of private center care. OLS regressions show that families receiving better housing and health benefit packages tend to pay more in child care while those to some degree relying on government food and welfare assistance spend a significantly lower percentage of household income on child care. As China faces ongoing challenges in welfare reform, our results imply that child care related policies should be designed according to family income levels and participation in various social benefit programs.

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