Childcare use and costs are up, and grandparents are increasingly relied upon for child-minding. That’s a summary of the childcare section from the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, released today.
The annual survey of 17,000 people, which has been conducted since 2001, is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households.
This year, the survey confirmed the obvious when it comes to childcare. In introducing the childcare statistics, Roger Wilkins, professorial research fellow and deputy director, research for the HILDA Survey, noted that childcare “has been a significant public policy issue for some years now, largely because of the steady growth in female employment participation since the 1970s”. Whilst he offered that government childcare subsidies have somewhat eased the cost-pressure of childcare, he conceded that “there is little doubt that access to affordable and high-quality childcare looms large in the minds of many parents with young children”.
This is especially pertinent, as the survey revealed that, for both couples and single parents, the use of childcare for kids under school age spiralled between 2002 and 2014 – the surveyed years.
HILDA data showed costs had also risen substantially. For couples, they escalated by 109 per cent between the surveyed years, and for singles, by 132 per cent.
Perhaps as a corollary of the general childcare fee increase, grandparents are in ever-more use as babysitters, by both couples and single parents. For singles, the contrast is stark. “There has, in fact, been a surge in lone parents’ use of grandparents since 2008,” Wilkins disclosed, referring to a growth of more than 10 percentage points over the surveyed years.
The HILDA survey is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.Do you have an idea for a story?
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