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Trends in child care use and cost between 1999 and 2002


  • Justine McNamara

    () (University of Canberra)

  • Rebecca Cassells

    (University of Canberra)


Despite the widely-acknowledged importance of high quality, affordable child care, quantitative research into child care policy in Australia is relatively limited. In this study, recently-released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 1999 and 2002 Child Care Surveys are used to examine trends in formal and informal child care use and costs for children not yet attending school over the three year period between the two surveys. The data were analysed using the Australian Bureau of Statistics Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). The time period examined is particularly important in policy terms, as the new Child Care Benefit (CCB) was introduced in July 2000. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses are employed in examining the data. Results show a statistically significant increase in the use of long day care and family day care services between 1999 and 2002, accompanied by a fall in the use of informal care services. Increases in formal care use appeared to be stronger for some groups, including children whose mothers worked part-time, and children from low income families. Parents’ out-of-pocket costs for care fell very slightly in real terms over the period, with more substantial falls in costs for sole parent and low income families.

Suggested Citation

  • Justine McNamara & Rebecca Cassells, 2006. "Trends in child care use and cost between 1999 and 2002," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 9(2), pages 125-146, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:9:y:2006:i:2:p:125-146

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    More about this item


    Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth; National Government Expenditures and Related Policies; Time Allocation and Labor Supply (hours of work; part-time employment; temporary);

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • H59 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Other
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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