Comparing Potential Demand for Nontraditional-Hour Child Care and Planned Policies across States

Brief

Comparing Potential Demand for Nontraditional-Hour Child Care and Planned Policies across States

Abstract

Understanding the potential child care needs for parents who work early in the morning, evenings, nights, and weekends has become a growing concern for policymakers trying to make child care more accessible. Families working these nontraditional (NTH) schedules—defined here as anytime outside of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays—can face extra challenges finding child care, and the types of child care they use are less supported by public funds. Using data from the 2015–19 American Community Survey and 2016 Survey of Income and Program Participation, we estimated the potential demand for child care during these nontraditional hours (NTH). Across the US, 36 percent of children under age 6 in working families have parents who work NTH schedules. Yet the range varies substantially by state. Mississippi has the highest share of young children in working families that have NTH-working parents (47 percent), and North Dakota has the lowest share (24 percent). Although parents of all types and income levels work NTH schedules, these schedules are much more common among families who have faced structural barriers to employment, education, and good wages. States vary in their planned actions to increase access to NTH care.

Research Area: 

Cross-Center Initiative

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