Latina women in the United States: Child care preferences and arrangements

Laura Beth Satkowski, Fordham University


Formal child care has been associated with myriad benefits for children as compared to informal child care, such as improvements in cognitive development and language skills. Immigrant children may derive unique benefits from formal child care, as research has also confirmed that center-based child care is associated with gains in English language proficiency and school readiness. However, immigrant families are less likely than nonimmigrant families to enroll their children in formal child care. Considering the growing immigrant population in the U.S.—a large proportion of which is Latino—more research is needed to understand the child care decision-making processes of immigrant families. The current study examined the previously understudied social and internal factors that may influence the child care preferences and arrangements of immigrant and nonimmigrant Latina women. The study sample comprised 278 Latina women living in the U.S. Of these participants, 43% were born in the U.S. and 57% were born outside of the U.S.; 32% were currently pregnant and 68% were parenting at least one child. Participants were recruited from Offerwise’s Hispanic Panel to complete an online survey covering questions related to demographic characteristics, child care preferences and arrangements, social support, perceived quality of child care types, acculturation, and beliefs about maternal employment. Results demonstrated that immigrant and nonimmigrant Latina participants differed significantly in their beliefs about maternal employment, perceptions of relative child care quality, and levels of acculturation. Multiple regression models of social and internal factors (e.g., social support and importance of trust in a caregiver) predicted relative and center-based child care preference and utilization, although few individual factors significantly predicted these outcomes. Findings indicate that the child care decision-making process cannot be assumed to be homogenous across Latina immigrant and nonimmigrant women. Further, this decision-making process is influenced by social and internal factors, such as trust and beliefs about maternal employment. Future research should incorporate concrete, social, and internal factors in models predicting child care preferences and arrangements.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Latin American Studies|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Satkowski, Laura Beth, "Latina women in the United States: Child care preferences and arrangements" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10254925.