Migrant-Native Differentials in the Uptake of Childcare Arrangements in Belgium.

Naomi Biegel , University of Antwerp
Karel Neels, University of Antwerp

Formal childcare is considered as an important policy instrument to alleviate the parent-worker conflict and increase maternal labour force participation. While Belgium is among the European countries with the highest availability of formal childcare, female labour market participation and uptake of childcare is substantially lower among migrant populations. Using individual-level data from the 2001 Belgian Census, we investigate migrant-native differentials in the uptake of both formal, informal and mixed (in)formal childcare, controlling for different socio-demographic characteristics. Additionally, we take account of different supply-side characteristics such as availability of local childcare and the presence and characteristics of grandparents. The explanatory effect of the variables varies over the different migrant groups considered, and within groups between the first and second generation. Noteworthy is that migrants do not seem to substitute formal childcare by informal care, except for second generation Eastern-European mothers. Controlling for different socio-demographic characteristics and structural constraints, significantly explains differences between first generation and native women, but substantial differences remain between second generation Turkish, first and second generation Moroccan women and native Belgian mothers. Previous research already demonstrated that the unstable labour market trajectories among these mothers hinder uptake of different family policies in Belgium, making it challenging to gain and retain employment when additionally being confronted with childcare obligations.

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 Presented in Session 76. Children of Immigrants