Education Level Changes Canadian Parent Attitudes on Childcare

A new survey reveals that support for stay-at-home parenting in Canada has dropped among people with higher levels of education. The survey, conducted by Abingdon Research for the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC), found that 76% of Canadians said children under six should be cared for at home by a parent, but the more formally-educated the respondent, the more likely they were to support outsourcing childcare.

Researchers interviewed 2,022 people and found that 62% of Canadians with a post-graduate degree, and 68% of those with a university degree, prefer parental care over a daycare or a relative’s care. According to the survey, higher education affects women’s attitudes more than men. 69% of male post-grads and 54% of female post-grads said stay-at-home parenting is ideal, while 72% of males who completed university and 65% of females said the same, writes Misty Harris of National Post.

When parents are not able to be at home with their children, the survey found that 41% of people with a post-grad and 35% having a university degree preferred a relative as a caregiver. Overall among Canadians, 51% believe a relative is the next best option after parents.

According to the survey, 23% of people with a university degree, and 21% of post-grads prefer residential day homes. For-profit daycares were chosen by 11% of university degree-holders and 7% of those with post-grads, while 18% of university grads and 25% of post-grads preferred a non-profit daycare center.

Dr. Tamara Pierce said she likes the idea of being a stay-at-home parent — a bias she credits to the “sense of security and predictability” in having her own mother at home as a girl — but has ultimately elected to work part-time.

When asked “if government should spend money to look after children, how they should do so,” 61% said funding should go directly to parents, IMFC said in a statement.

The people said the government should provide the funding in the form of cash payments, a child tax deduction, or reduced taxes to all Canadians. According to of 12% of people, subsidies should be provided by the government to child care centres to improve quality or create more spaces.

“This poll shows that the policy push in various provinces today stands in contrast to the desires of Canadians, who prefer to see funding go directly to them rather than into school bureaucracies or institutional care,” said Andrea Mrozek, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

In Alberta, 70% of people said child funding should go directly to parents. A direct subsidy to parents is also a popular choice among parents of children under six and females age 35 to 54.

The survey was conducted from January 25th through January 28th using a representative online panel. It is considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.