For August 13, 2020 release
MADISON, NJ, August 11, 2020 – As parents of young children struggle to work from home or fill essential jobs during the pandemic, the critical role child care plays in the economic health of New Jersey and the nation has never been more apparent. A new survey finds that nine in ten (91%) New Jersey adults believe it is important to have high-quality, affordable infant and toddler care available for N.J. families according to a recent statewide survey from the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll with funding from The Nicholson Foundation. Women (79%) are more likely than men (66%) to believe the availability of child care is ‘very important.’
The survey also asked respondents to rate how important it was for the state to address a number of different pressing issues on a scale of 1 to 10 (lowest to highest) including infant and toddler child care, healthcare, Pre-K through grade 12 education, job creation, criminal justice reform, and property tax relief. While infant and child care ranked fifth among these various issues, a majority of New Jerseyans (57%) rated it at the highest levels of importance (a rating of 8, 9 or 10), with women (62%) more likely than men (53%) to claim it as a top issue. Additionally, those with infants and toddlers (72%) are more likely than those without young children (55%) to rate high-quality infant and toddler care at the highest levels of importance.
“This poll, conducted in late June as the state reopened child care, indicates that the overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents, across all segments of society, support accessible, high-quality infant and toddler child care,” said Kimberly Boller, Ph.D., Chief Strategy and Evaluation Officer at The Nicholson Foundation. “High-quality care for infants and toddlers is essential for the learning and development of children, ability of parents to work outside of the home, and for the future of New Jersey.”
Nationally and in New Jersey, there is far less availability of child care for infants and toddlers than for older children, because regulatory requirements, such as group size, are higher for the youngest children. The cost of full-time care for an infant in New Jersey was more than $15,000 in 2019.
Differences in Gender, Race and Party
Women (79%) and non-Whites (78%) are more likely than men (66%) and Whites (69%) to believe the availability of child care is ‘very important,’ while adults ages 18 to 25 are less likely to recognize its importance (59% ‘very important’) than those who are older. Democrats (82%) are more likely than Republicans (61%) to say affordable infant and toddler care is ‘very important'.
“The child care crisis in New Jersey and nationally puts parents of infants and toddlers right in the middle of the perfect storm. The storm’s triple punch includes reductions in the supply of care, increases in costs to keep babies and staff safe, and concerns about the quality of care,” said Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., Leonard Marx Professor of Child and Parent Development and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons. “In the midst of the pandemic, New Jerseyans recognize high quality infant and toddler care as a basic necessity for parents--one that supports work and nurtures children’s learning and well-being.”
“The results show that strengthening the child care system is very much on the minds of New Jersey residents as the state navigates its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Arturo Brito, M.D., Executive Director of The Nicholson Foundation. “Now is the time to reimagine how accessible, high-quality child care for infants and toddlers can help New Jersey’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and help children thrive for years to come.”
The survey was conducted by live callers on both landlines and cellular phones June 18 through June 30, 2020 with a scientifically selected random sample of 809 New Jersey adults, 18 or older. Persons without a telephone could not be included in the random selection process. Respondents within a household are selected by asking randomly for the youngest adult currently available. The interview was conducted in English and included 263 adults reached on a landline phone and 546 adults reached on a cell phone, all acquired through random digit dialing.
The data were weighted to be representative of the non-institutionalized adult population of New Jersey. The weighting balanced sample demographics to target population parameters. The sample is balanced to match parameters for sex, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and phone use. The sex, age, education, race/ethnicity, and region parameters were derived from 2018 American Community Survey PUMS data. The phone use parameter was derived from estimates provided by the National Health Interview Survey Early Release Program.[1,2,3]
Weighting was done in two stages. The first stage of weighting corrected for different probabilities of selection associated with the number of adults in each household and each respondent’s telephone usage patterns. This adjustment also accounts for the overlapping landline and cell sample frames and the relative sizes of each frame and each sample. This first stage weight was applied to the entire sample which included all adults.
The second stage of the weighting balanced sample demographics to match target population benchmarks. This weighting was accomplished using SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population.
EFFECTS OF SAMPLE DESIGN ON STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
Post-data collection statistical adjustments require analysis procedures that reflect departures from simple random sampling. FDU calculates the effects of these design features so that an appropriate adjustment can be incorporated into tests of statistical significance when using these data. The so-called "design effect" or deff represents the loss in statistical efficiency that results from a disproportionate sample design and systematic non-response. The total sample design effect for this study is 1.25.
All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 809 New Jersey adults is +/-3.8 percentage points (including the design effect) at a 95 percent confidence interval. Thus, if 50 percent of New Jersey adults in this sample favor a particular position, we would be 95 percent sure that the true figure is between 46.2 and 53.8 percent (50 +/- 3.8) if all New Jersey adults had been interviewed, rather than just a sample.
Sampling error does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects.
This telephone survey was fielded by Braun Research, Inc. with sample from Dynata.
The sample was purchased from Marketing Systems Group and the research was funded by The Nicholson Foundation.
About the FDU Poll
The FDU Poll is a university based survey research center that began in 2001. It has conducted over a hundred publicly released polls guided by a mission to provide high quality, scientifically sound, non-partisan measures of important issues facing New Jersey and the nation. To learn more visit us online.
About The Nicholson Foundation
The Nicholson Foundation is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in New Jersey. The Foundation’s approach emphasizes partnerships and performance-based grant making; its goal is sustainable systems reform. For more information about the Foundation visit http://thenicholsonfoundation.org.
Tables (Note: Figures may not total 100% due to rounding)
Exact question wording and order:
For purposes of the next set of questions, child care means the care and supervision of a child by someone other than the parent.
N1 A-F. Thinking specifically about New Jersey, please rate the following on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being least important and 10 being the most important areas for New Jersey to address. (RESPONSE ORDER ROTATED)
A Pre-K through grade 12 education
C Infant and toddler child care
D Job creation
E Criminal justice reform
F Property tax relief
Record answer 1-10
98 DK (vol)
99 Refused (vol)
N2. Regardless of whether or not you have young children, how important, if at all, do you believe high-quality, affordable infant and toddler child care is for families in New Jersey?
1 Very important
2 Somewhat important
3 Not very important
4 Not important at all
8 DK (vol)
9 Refused (vol)
N4. How many children, under the age of 3, if any, live in your household?
1 None - SKIP NEXT SERIES
2 (Record Number)
8 DK (vol)
9 Refused (vol)
N5. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, which type of child care, if at all, did you use for your children ages 0 to 3?
1 In a child care center
2 In a family child care home, like in someone else’s house
3 In my home with a non-family member, like a nanny or babysitter
4 In the care of a family member in their home or my home
5 None of the above
8 DK (vol)
9 Refused (vol)
Weighted Telephone Sample Characteristics
Male 48% (411)
Female 52% (394)
18-34 27% (243)
35-54 34% (273)
55+ 40% (288)
Democrat (with leaners) 50% (398)
Independent 24% (195)
Republican (with leaners) 26% (200)
White 57% (431)
Black 12% (100)
Hispanic 19% (141)
Other 12% (119)
HS or less 26% (136)
Some college 35% (236)
College 39% (430)