A new Child Trends analysis shows that, from August 2021 to August 2022, 27 percent of Asian or Asian American families with lower incomes (defined as incomes below 200% of the federal poverty threshold) and at least one child under age 5 experienced disruptions to their child care and early education (CCEE) arrangements. By comparison, 36 percent of families with these characteristics across all racial and ethnic groups experienced disruptions during this period. We consider CCEE arrangements to be disrupted when any child in a family is unable to attend a CCEE program because of program closure, lack of availability or affordability of care, or concerns about safety. Among all other racial and ethnic groups we analyzed, 27 to 40 percent of families with lower incomes and children under age 5 experienced CCEE disruptions (see figure).
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the lives of many working families, particularly for families of color and families with lower incomes. Many families with young children had to adjust their work schedules or CCEE arrangements to deal with the disruptions caused by an unavailable provider or a sick child. Previous research has found that Latino and Black families with children were more likely to experience CCEE disruptions than their White counterparts. However, little is known about the experiences of Asian or Asian American families, especially those with lower incomes and children under age 5. This lack of research especially obscures the needs of Asian or Asian American families with young children who live in poverty.
To address this gap in knowledge, our analysis focused on Asian or Asian American families with lower incomes that had at least one child under age 5. There were no significant observed differences in rates of CCEE disruptions between Asian or Asian American families with lower incomes and either Hispanic families or White families with lower incomes. However, when compared to Black families with lower incomes or families of another reported race, Asian or Asian American families with lower incomes reported a significantly lower rate of experiencing CCEE disruptions. This suggests a unique pattern of CCEE disruption experiences among Asian or Asian American families with lower incomes and children under age 5; however, individual families’ experiences may be obscured in this aggregated exploration. The Asian or Asian American category provided for analysis includes a wide range of ethnicities, such as Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asians.
Future research should explore whether there are more diverse CCEE disruption experiences within the Asian or Asian American community, including scenarios such as job loss, the need to manage child care responsibilities while working, and the need to take time off work to care for children. Additionally, it is important to examine the types of CCEE or CCEE support strategies used by families with fewer CCEE disruptions.
 The authors analyzed public-use data from the Household Pulse Survey spanning from August 2021 (Phase 3.2) to August 2022 (Phase 3.5).
This data point is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (Grant #: 90YE0278) totaling $100,000 with 100 percent funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACF/HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit the ACF website, Administrative and National Policy Requirements.
Tang, J. & Gebhart, T. (2023). One in four Asian or American families with lower incomes experienced pandemic-era child care disruptions. Child Trends. DOI: 10.56417/1932a8595u
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