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Among fathers with a wife in the workforce, 32 percent were a regular source of care for their children under age 15, up from 26 percent in 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau have reveal in a new report. Among these fathers with preschool-age children, one in five fathers was the primary caregiver, meaning their child spent more time in their care than any other type of arrangement.
The series of tables titled Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2010 showed that in a typical week, 12.2 million (61 percent) of the 20 million children under age 5 were in some type of regular child care arrangement. As married women have increasingly moved into the labor force, fathers have become more available for child care while their wives are working.
“A recession may force families to adjust their child care arrangements,” said Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau. “It can trigger unemployment or changes in work hours, thus increasing the availability of fathers to provide child care. It also can reduce available income to pay for child care outside of the home.”
The tables provide statistics on child care arrangements of preschoolers and grade-schoolers by various demographic characteristics of the employed and non-employed mothers. They also examine the characteristics of children who care for themselves on a regular basis as well as how the cost of weekly child care varies based on selected family characteristics.
This report is one of several related to children and families to have been released recently or that will be released soon by the Census Bureau, including Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009; Maternity Leave and Employment Patterns of First-Time Mothers: 1961-2008; and Comparing Program Participation of TANF and non-TANF Families Before and During a Time of Recession.