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Government surveys of parents disagree on how many working families use childcare

Authors: Mike Brewer and Jonathan Shaw
Date: 13 January 2005
Type: Press Release,

Abstract

Different government-funded large-scale surveys of parents give different impressions of the proportion of families with working mothers that use childcare. There is little difference, though, in the amount that parents spend on childcare captured by these surveys. The differences between the surveys result from the different ways they ask questions about parents' use of childcare.

This is the main finding from new IFS research funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, which compared how well four large-scale surveys of parents captured their use of childcare. The research was funded by the DWP in order to help the Department address inconsistencies across different survey sources.

The differences are most evident in the proportion of families with children using centre-based care, out-of-school clubs, and close relatives: the proportion using childminders or nannies, though, is reasonably similar across the datasets. Download full version

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