Child Care

Child Care

Important Information

This section describes child care questions asked of Young Adults about their own children. Information about the child care experiences of child/young adult respondents in their first three years of life is summarized in a separate section called Child Care During Childhood.

From 1994 through 1998, questions about usual child care arrangements and hours spent in child care were asked about all children in the household associated with the Young Adult respondent, including biological, step, adopted and/or partner's children. Beginning in 2000 the kinds of questions asked were expanded to include items from the NLSY79 Mother Supplement. In 2000 and 2002, the child-specific questions in this section were only asked about the youngest child. Since 2004, the child-specific questions were once again asked of all children in the household associated with the respondent. 

In 2000 a series of questions was introduced about parenting behaviors. These are modeled after questions in the HOME (Home Observation Measurement of the Environment) section of the NLSY79 Mother Supplement. Because these questions were developed for telephone administration, they do not allow an actual HOME score to be created as is done in the NLSY79 Mother Supplement. However, incorporating these items provides researchers with a unique opportunity to make intergenerational comparisons of parenting behaviors between the Young Adults and their mothers. In 2000 and 2002, the questions focused only on the youngest child in the household, regardless of whether that child was biological, step, adopted, or partner's, and included questions about child care arrangements as well as parenting behaviors towards that child. In 2004, specific child care arrangement questions were dropped, but the focus of the parenting behavior questions were expanded to include all children in the household associated with the respondent and tailored for a wider age range of children, akin to the age-based sections of the Home used in the Mother Supplement.

In 2008, some new questions about parenting behaviors, such as how often the respondent bathes or dresses the child and how often the respondent plays with the child, adapted from the NLSY97, were added to improve the detail we have about parenting coresidential children as well as to provide a comparison to parenting of noncoresidential children. Questions about nocoresidential children are found in the Fertility section. In 2012, the Behavior Problems Index (BPI) from the Mother Supplement was added and an upper child age limit of 14 was put in place for all questions on child care and parenting behavior. As part of the 2018 redesign, respondents complete the BPI only for children ages 6/7 or 10/11.

From 1994 to 2012, the Young Adult survey also included questions about total child care expenses for all children associated with the respondent, as well as whether child care difficulties affect employment.

Users should note that while specifics on parenting behavior and child care arrangements are only asked about the youngest child in 2000 and 2002, a roster of all children in the household who are tied to the Young Adult is available.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: A range of both retrospective and cross-sectional (past four weeks) childcare information is available in the NLSY79. The mother-report child care sections from the NLSY79 provide the types of current childcare arrangements used for each child in the household, a retrospective of childcare experiences during the first three years of life for all children (of at least 1 year of age) born to the respondent, and in some survey years, the overall family expenditure for current care. Childcare history in the first three years of life is on the NLSY79 Child Data File. 

The NLSY97 Parent Questionnaire collected information from one of the youth's biological parents or another household adult on background information including childcare. An expanded set of child care questions was asked in round 5 and again in round 9. In some years the Young Women and Mature Women answered questions concerning types and locations of childcare arrangements and the extent of childcare responsibility. For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.

Survey Instruments Questions on child care are found in the Young Adult Instrument, Section 13, Children in the Household (called Child Care 1994 through 2002)
Area of Interest YA Child Care