The Importance of Child-Care Characteristics to Choice of Care

by Anne Johansen, Arleen Leibowitz, Linda Waite

This article examines the influence of importance ratings of intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics of child care on parents' choice of care, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey-72. The authors find that parents who value developmental characteristics of care chose center care and that parents for whom hours, location, and cost of care are important chose care at home. Choice of family day care increased if parents thought it was important that the child know the caregiver. Several key determinants, such as mother's education, affect child-care choice primarily by increasing the importance that parents place on various characteristics of care.

Originally published in: Journal of Marriage and the Family, v. 53, no. 3, August 1996, pp. 759-772.

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