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Indicator 5: Early Childcare and Education Arrangements
(Last Updated: February 2019)

In 2016, about 29 percent of children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten regularly received center-based care as their primary care arrangement. The percentage of children who regularly received center-based care was lower for Hispanic children (23 percent) than for children of Two or more races (34 percent) and for Black (32 percent), White (31 percent), and Asian children (31 percent).

The type of nonparental early care and education setting in which a child regularly spends the most hours per week is referred to as a child’s primary care arrangement in this indicator. In 2016, about 40 percent of children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten received care only from their parents1 and did not have primary care arrangement on a regular basis. The remaining 60 percent of young children2 had some type of regularly scheduled primary care arrangement: 29 percent received center-based care as their primary care arrangement, 19 percent received home-based relative care, 10 percent received home-based nonrelative care, and 2 percent regularly had multiple care arrangements for equal amounts of time. The percentages of the types of primary care arrangements received by children varied by child and family characteristics, such as child’s race/ethnicity and family poverty status.


Figure 5.1. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old who are not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child and type of primary care arrangement: 2016

Figure 5.1. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old who are not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child and type of primary care arrangement: 2016


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
1 Children who spent an equal number of hours per week in multiple nonparental care arrangements.
2 Center-based arrangements include day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.
3 Children who had no regularly scheduled nonparental care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents.
NOTE: A child’s primary arrangement is the regular nonparental care arrangement or early childhood education program in which the child spent the most time per week. Data for Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaska Natives not shown because reporting standards were not met. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Program Participation Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program (ECPP-NHES:2016). See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 202.30.


In 2016, among children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten, the percentage who regularly received center-based care as their primary care arrangement was higher for children of Two or more races (34 percent) and for Black (32 percent), White (31 percent), and Asian children (31 percent) than for Hispanic children (23 percent). The percentage of young children who regularly received home-based relative care as their primary care arrangement was higher for Black children (25 percent) than for children of Two or more races (18 percent) and White children (16 percent). The percentage who regularly received home-based nonrelative care as their primary care arrangement was higher for White children (12 percent) than for Black (9 percent), Hispanic (7 percent), and Asian children (6 percent). The percentage of young children who received parental care only was higher for Hispanic children (49 percent) than for children of Two or more races (39 percent), White children (38 percent), and Black children (32 percent). In addition, the percentage receiving parental care only was higher for Asian children (43 percent) than for Black children.

In 2016, parental care only was the most common type of care arrangement for White, Hispanic, and Asian children. For instance, a higher percentage of Hispanic children received parental care only (49 percent) than received center-based care (23 percent), home-based relative care (20 percent), and home-based nonrelative care (7 percent) on a regular basis. The percentage of Black children who received parental care only was also higher than the percentage who regularly received home-based nonrelative care (32 vs. 9 percent); however, there was no measurable difference between the percentages of Black children who received parental care only and who regularly received center-based care and home-based relative care. For children of Two or more races, the percentage who received parental care only (39 percent) was higher than the percentages who regularly received home-based relative (18 percent) and nonrelative care (9 percent); however, there was no measurable difference between the percentages who received parental care only and who regularly received center-based care.


Figure 5.2. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old who are not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child, poverty status of household, and type of primary care arrangement: 2016

Figure 5.2. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old who are not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child, poverty status of household, and type of primary care arrangement: 2016


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡ Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
1 Includes other racial/ethnic groups not shown separately.
2 Children who spent an equal number of hours per week in multiple nonparental care arrangements.
3 Center-based arrangements include day care centers, Head Start programs, preschools, prekindergartens, and other early childhood programs.
4 Children who had no regularly scheduled nonparental care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents.
NOTE: A child’s primary arrangement is the regular nonparental care arrangement or early childhood education program in which the child spent the most time per week. Poor children are those whose family incomes were below the Census Bureau’s poverty threshold in the year prior to data collection, and nonpoor children are those whose family incomes were at or above 200 percent of the poverty threshold. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded estimates. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Program Participation Survey of the National Household Education Surveys Program (ECPP-NHES:2016). See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, table 202.30.


The types of regular primary care arrangements for children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten differed by family poverty status.3 In 2016, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received center-based care (37 vs. 20 percent). Similarly, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received home-based nonrelative care (13 vs. 5 percent). On the other hand, the percentage of children who received parental care only was higher for children from poor families than for those from nonpoor families (54 vs. 31 percent). There was no measurable difference between the percentages of young children from poor and nonpoor families who regularly received home-based relative care as their primary care arrangement.

Differences by family poverty status for White, Black, and Hispanic young children—the only groups for which data were available for poor and nonpoor families across types of care arrangements—followed a similar pattern as the differences for young children overall. A higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received center-based care as their primary care among White (37 vs. 20 percent), Black (41 vs. 23 percent), and Hispanic (33 vs. 17 percent) children. In addition, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received home-based nonrelative care among White (14 vs. 5 percent) and Hispanic (11 vs. 4 percent) children. On the other hand, a higher percentage of young children from poor families than from nonpoor families received parental care only among White (59 vs. 31 percent), Black (40 vs. 24 percent), and Hispanic (60 vs. 33 percent) children. There were no measurable differences by family poverty status in the percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic children who regularly received home-based relative care as their primary care arrangement.

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Endnotes

1 This group is identified as “parental care only” in the indicator text and figures.
2 In this indicator, the shortened forms “young children” and “children” are used interchangeably with “children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten.”
3 Poor children are those whose family incomes were below the Census Bureauís poverty threshold in the year prior to data collection, and nonpoor children are those whose family incomes were at or above 200 percent of the poverty threshold.