Balancing Work with School and Training while Raising Young Children

Research Report

Balancing Work with School and Training while Raising Young Children

Abstract

Parents who have children at a young age often face an interruption in their schooling, their plans for career training, and overall life trajectory. But a growing number of young parents are seeking education and training to achieve better opportunities for their families, and many work while attending school. In this report, we use the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education to examine the prevalence of children born to young parents (under age 25) who are currently working while in education or training, the characteristics of these children and their families, and the implications for child care when young parents balance work with advancing their skills and education to get ahead. We find that although children with young parents balancing work with education or training constitute a small share of the child population, they are more likely than all children under 13 to live in low-income households, have single parents, and have parents with lower levels of education. Their parents spend long hours at work, education, or training, including during nontraditional hours. These children are more likely to be in nonparental care, especially the care of unpaid relatives, and to be in that care for more hours than children whose parents only work. The median child care burden for these families is 14 percent—twice the federal government recommendation that child care cost no more than 7 percent of household income. Our findings highlight the unique situations of young student-parents who may need greater support and resources to access and pay for child care than they currently have.

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