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Indicator 5: Early Childcare and Education Arrangements
(Last Updated: August 2016)

In 2012, about 28 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 higher for Black (34 percent), Asian (33 percent), and White children (29 percent) than for Hispanic children (22 percent).

The type of nonparental early care and education setting in which a child regularly spends the most hours per week is often referred to as a child's primary care arrangement. In 2012, about 40 percent of young children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten received care only from their parents1 and did not attend a primary care arrangement on a regular basis. The remaining 60 percent of young children2 attended some type of regularly scheduled primary care arrangement: 28 percent received center-based care as their primary care arrangement, 20 percent received home-based relative care, 11 percent received home-based nonrelative care, and 1 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, family poverty status, and mother's highest level of education.


Figure 5.1. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child and type of primary care arrangement: 2012

Figure 5.1. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by race/ethnicity of child and type of primary care arrangement: 2012


! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Includes persons of all other races and Two or more races. This group is not discussed in the text due to the large standard errors.
2 Children who had no regularly scheduled care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents.
3 Children who spent an equal number of hours per week in multiple nonparental care arrangements.
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. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. 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:2012). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 202.30.


In 2012, 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 Black (34 percent), Asian (33 percent), and White children (29 percent) than for Hispanic children (22 percent). In contrast, the percentage who regularly received home-based relative care as their primary care arrangement was higher for Hispanic children (23 percent) than for White (17 percent) and Asian children (16 percent); the percentage was also higher for Black children (25 percent) than for White and Asian children. The percentage of young children who regularly received home-based nonrelative care as their primary care arrangement was higher for White children (14 percent) than for Black (9 percent), Hispanic (8 percent), and Asian children (5 percent). The percentage was also higher for Hispanic than for Asian children.

The percentage of young children who received parental care only was higher for Hispanic and Asian children (45 percent each) than for White (38 percent) and Black children (31 percent). In addition, the percentage receiving parental care only was higher for White children than for Black children. The percentages of White, Hispanic, and Asian children who regularly received parental care only were higher than the percentages who received any other type of regular care arrangement. The percentage of Black children who received parental care only was also higher than the percentages regularly receiving home-based relative or nonrelative care; however, there was no measurable difference between the percentages of Black children who received parental care only and who regularly received center-based care.


Figure 5.2. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by poverty status of household, race/ethnicity of child, and type of primary care arrangement: 2012

Figure 5.2. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by poverty status of household, race/ethnicity of child, and type of primary care arrangement: 2012


# Rounds to zero.
! 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 had no regularly scheduled care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents.
2 Children who spent an equal number of hours per week in multiple nonparental care arrangements.
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. 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:2012). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 202.30.


The types of primary care arrangements regularly attended by children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten differed by family poverty status. In 2012, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received center-based care (34 vs. 20 percent). Similarly, a higher percentage of young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received home-based nonrelative care (15 vs. 6 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. The percentage of children who received parental care only was higher for children from poor families than for those from nonpoor families (53 vs. 31 percent).

A pattern similar to that for young children overall was observed 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. Higher percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received center-based care as their primary care arrangement (35 vs. 14 percent for White, 43 vs. 27 percent for Black, and 28 vs. 18 percent for Hispanic children). In addition, higher percentages of White and Hispanic young children from nonpoor families than from poor families regularly received home-based nonrelative care (18 vs. 6 percent for White and 12 vs. 4 percent for Hispanic children). On the other hand, higher percentages of White, Black, and Hispanic young children from poor families than from nonpoor families regularly received parental care only (63 vs. 30 percent for White, 39 vs. 22 percent for Black, and 55 vs. 34 percent for Hispanic 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.


Figure 5.3. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by mother's highest level of education and type of primary care arrangement: 2012

Figure 5.3. Percentage distribution of children under 6 years old and not enrolled in kindergarten, by mother's highest level of education and type of primary care arrangement: 2012


# Rounds to zero.
! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
1 Children who had no regularly scheduled care arrangement and mainly received care only from their parents.
2 Children who spent an equal number of hours per week in multiple nonparental care arrangements.
NOTE: Excludes children living in households with no mother or female guardian present. 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. 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:2012). See Digest of Education Statistics 2014, table 202.30.


In 2012, for children under 6 years old who were not enrolled in kindergarten, the percentage who regularly received center-based care as their primary care arrangement generally increased with higher levels of mother's education. For instance, about 18 percent of children whose mothers had not completed high school and 22 percent of children whose mothers had only completed high school regularly received center-based care as their primary care arrangement, compared with 36 percent of children whose mothers had earned a bachelor's degree and 41 percent of children whose mothers had earned a graduate degree as their highest level of education. In contrast, the percentage of children who received parental care only generally decreased with each increase in mother's highest level of education, ranging from 56 percent for children whose mothers had not completed high school and 48 percent for children whose mothers had only completed high school to 31 percent for children whose mothers had earned a bachelor's degree and 21 percent for children whose mothers had earned a graduate degree as their highest level of education.

The percentage of young children who regularly received home-based relative care as their primary care arrangement in 2012 was higher for children whose mothers had only completed high school (22 percent), had obtained vocational/technical or some college education (20 percent), or had earned an associate's degree (21 percent) than for children whose mothers had earned a graduate degree as their highest level of education (15 percent). The percentage of young children who regularly received nonrelative care as their primary care arrangement was higher for children whose mothers had earned an associate's or bachelor's degree (14 percent each) or a graduate degree (21 percent) than for children whose mothers had not completed high school (6 percent), had only completed high school (8 percent), or had obtained vocational/technical or some college education as their highest level of education (9 percent).

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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."