Child Care Choices of Low-Income, Immigrant Families with Young Children: Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education

Report Author: 
Heather Sandstrom & Julia Gelatt
Original Date of Publication: 
2017 Nov

Immigrants' use of early childhood care and education has been the topic of numerous studies, but what factors drive immigrant caregivers' use of these services? In this report, the authors use National Survey of Early Care and Education data to explore child-care decisions of immigrant and U.S.-born families. Noting that the most salient differences are not always between immigrant and non-immigrant parents, the authors emphasize the distinction between children of recent immigrants with low English proficiency (LEP) and children of U.S. born and English proficient immigrants.  Low-income immigrant parents most commonly use center-based care; however, low-income, LEP immigrant parents are less likely than U.S.-born and English-proficient immigrant parents to access child services and early education outside the home. This low-enrollment occurs despite the fact that LEP immigrant caregivers and U.S.-born and English-proficient caregivers have similar work patterns, seem to have the same expectations regarding child-care facilities, and LEP immigrant caregivers have a slightly higher perception of center-based care.  The authors postulate that LEP parents may be less likely to consider center-based care because of limited availability of nearby centers, and/or centers with staff members who speak their language.  Child-care decisions of immigrants who arrived before age 13 look most similar to child-care decisions of U.S.-born families, which suggests acculturation and integration. The authors recommend that further research focus on recent immigrants and LEP parents' low use of center-based care. (Sam Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)

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Citation: 

Sandstrom, H., & Gelatt, J. (2017). Child Care Choices of Low-Income, Immigrant Families with Young Children: Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (p. 20). Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/94546/child-care-choices-of-low-income-immigrant-families-with-young-children.pdf

Source Organization: 
The Urban Institute