Report from UNCG Finds Childcare Inequality Impacting Hispanic Families

Christopher Bouzane
Staff Writer

PC: Wikimedia Commons

New research conducted by UNC Greensboro (UNCG) and the National Research Center for Hispanic Children and Families have determined that four in 10 low-income Hispanic households pay at least four times above the federal benchmark for child care costs. 

The data sourced for this report comes from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), a set of four nationally representative surveys designed to describe early child care and education across the United States. The data used for this report came from areas with a majority of low-income families. 

Statistically, Hispanic households have high levels of parental unemployment and low income levels. This provides more subsidies for Hispanic households to get access to quality child care, which has proven to provide tremendous benefits. 

The report also found that six in 10 low-income Hispanic households have no out-of-pocket childcare costs due to federal subsidizing. Additionally, fewer than one in 10 have out-of-pocket expenses that are classified as affordable. 

“The federal government considers childcare affordable if a family spends 7 percent or less of their total household income on [child]care,” said Danielle Crosby, the lead author of the published report and an Associate Professor for Human Development and Family Studies at UNCG.

Key findings from the report suggests that fewer than 1 in 10 low-income Latino families are spending around $20 per week on child care, equating to 3 percent of their income. 

“Our research shows that many low-income Hispanic families are paying far more than that,” said Crosby. “While low-income Hispanic parents have high levels of employment, their low wages and irregular work hours can make it difficult for them to find affordable care.”

Key findings from the report suggests that fewer than one in 10 low-income Latino families are spending around $20 per week on child care, equating to three percent of their income. 

Furthermore, the report claims that Hispanic families pay an average of $101.14 per week on childcare. Compared to nonimmigrant Hispanic families, they spend an average of $91.98 per week on childcare. To understand this better, immigrant families are spending 29 percent of their total household income and nonimmigrant families are spending 26 percent of their total household income. 

“Latino parents of young children who report difficulty finding child care are more likely to identify cost as the primary barrier,” said the report. 

State and Federal programs like the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provide low-income families reduced rates for child care. In some cases programs cover the complete cost of care through the use of federal subsidies. 

Despite these efforts, Latino children are less likely than non-Latino children to benefit from these programs. Only eight percent of eligible Hispanic children actually receive CCDF assistance. In comparison, eligible non-hispanic black children receive 21 percent and all other eligible children receive 13 percent. 

“While the reach of federal and state programs to address child-care affordability for low-income families has expanded over the years, they still aren’t reaching all eligible children, including eligible Hispanic children,” said Crosby. “A lack of care options available outside standard nine to five work hours is one reason that may reduce access for many low-income Hispanic families.” 

The authors of the report recommend that states reexamine how they prioritize early child care and education policies. They warn that the administrative process may provide barriers that could potentially influence the use of the programs for low-income Hispanic families. 



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