9/23/2004

Who is raising America's children?

Recently, I was listening to a discussion about the shift in family and child care in the last few decades, and I found it rather interesting. One factor of this has been the shift to dual incomes in most homes these days, but people aren't reproducing that much less. So what is everybody doing with their children? Day-cares have bad repuations, and most mothers don't want to be that far away from their kids. So society is evolving, and many corporations today are placing in-house day-cares for their working mothers.

After thinking about this, I happened to run across an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about this specific topic. The article describes how a women got back into the "swing of things" after recently having a baby, thanks to her employer General Mills, Inc. The article also relates the information that Working Mother magazine released its 19th annual list of the best 100 companies for working mothers, with, of course, General Mills, Inc. having a spot on that special list.

This recent trend illistrates the basics of economics: supply and demand! The social shift in dual incomes results in the demand for better places to drop off our kids, therefore, here comes the supply!

5 comments:

John West said...

This should not be regarded as a new phenomona, but instead an evolving practice that has been gathering steam for decades. The reason why there is such a demand for daycare is simply because women are wanting to reenter the workforce after they have children. In my view, the reason why women want to reenter the work force is because they feel that they have a lot to offer society and to self fulfill certain needs that they have to feel important.

peter_parker said...

There was an article in "Fast Company" last year about Des Moines, Iowa and how a lot of corporations are moving there as well as people seeking jobs. One influence is focus on family. A large part of the city is set up where schools are located downtown next to office buildings where the parents to the students work. Many firms have "day-care" services located in the same building. They also provide other services like gyms with racquetball courts, pools, etc. and even yoga classes for moms and kids.

People love it because it cuts out a lot of commute time as well as costs.

Anonymous said...

The amount of children in daycare has been increasing rapidly over time, but is this a good thing. It is true that woman can now enter the workplace and become an economic benefit to society, but weren't they already an economic benefit to society. I really don't think that our children can learn the proper values they need in daycare that they can at home with a mother. I think in the long run the economic benefit that woman bring to the workplace will begin to fall because we will have a bunch of kids that aren't very economically benefitial.

Dr. Tufte said...

Aargh - lost my comment while saving it. If it shows up, you can disregard this one.

The post and comment are all good.

The provision of daycare is one way that managers can increase the compensation of employees (although it will substitute for wage and salary increases). But, in order to do so, productivity will have to go up too. Alternatively, the fact that some employers are providing daycare is an indicator that productivity has suffered in the past from a lack of it.

However, providing this sort of service does favor your employees with young children over those without. That tends to create animosity that a manager has to deal with later.

Note that macroeconomically, the shift to daycare will increase GDP without making us better off. This is because parents who stay at home with their kids are not compensated in a way that is feasible for the government to track. So their work doens't get counted in GDP. But a daycare workers does, because their compensation is easy to track.

Maudi said...

I think that it is a great idea to have a day care right where your place of employment is. What a wonderful way to have the mother at work, while her child is only a few rooms away. There is actually a business owner that I know and he has started a small day care in his office not only for small children, but for children of all ages to even come in after school to wait for their mothers to get off work. This also shows how important that mother's role is at the office to the employer.