Educational differences in US parents' time spent in child care: The role of culture and cross-spouse influence

Paula England, Anjula Srivastava

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    We explore effects of parents' education on how much time they spend in child care, using a sample of married and cohabiting parents from the 2003 to 2011 American Time Use Study. We find that more educated parents spend more time in child care, despite having higher employment rates. For men, there is some mixed evidence that their own education increases their child care time, but much stronger evidence that their child care time is influenced by their wives' education. For women, it is largely their own education affecting their child care time. We also assess whether the higher earnings of the well educated, which could be used to outsource housework, explains why they spend more time in child care. Results do not support this hypothesis; educational differences do not change much under controls for his and her earnings or housework. This suggests that the effects of education on child care result from different cultural conceptions of child rearing held by the well educated, especially by women, whose education affects both their own and their husbands' child care time.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)971-988
    Number of pages18
    JournalSocial Science Research
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2013



    • Child care
    • Education
    • Family
    • Household work
    • Social class

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Sociology and Political Science

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