2010 CA Parent Survey Key Findings

Untitled Document Visit http://www.kidsdata.org/parentpoll/ for the official parent survey page.

Family Income

Approximately one out of four children (26 percent) in California has parents who believe their household income is "not quite enough" or "not nearly enough" to pay for their children's basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Slightly more than half (52 percent) have parents who think their income is "adequate" to meet their children's basic needs, and 21 percent have parents who say their income is "more than enough." Parents of Black children are more likely (43 percent) to think their household income is "not quite enough" or "not nearly enough" to pay for their children's basic needs than parents of Latino/Hispanic (32 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (20 percent), and White (13 percent) children.

Neighborhood Safety

Most California children are safe in their surroundings and neighborhood (84 percent), according to parents. However, 12 percent of children are considered unsafe in their surroundings. Reported levels of safety vary considerably by demographic group:

  • Children of foreign-born parents are significantly more likely to be considered unsafe in their surroundings and neighborhood (16 percent) than children of native-born parents (9 percent).
  • Very few children (2 percent) with household incomes more than $125,000 have parents who think that their children are unsafe in their surroundings, compared to a much larger percentage of children with family incomes less than $25,000 (20 percent).
  • Latino/Hispanic children are more likely to be reported as unsafe in their surroundings (20 percent) than White (4 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (6 percent), or Black (12 percent) children.

Child Care

Approximately 16 percent of children in California have parents who believe they do not have affordable options available to supervise or care for their children. Those most likely to lack affordable options include children with Spanish as a primary language (28 percent), with parents without a high school diploma (27 percent), and with annual household incomes under $25,000 (24 percent). 

In addition, the survey asked parents what types of problems, if any, they had enrolling their children in child care. About half of children were enrolled in child care without any reported problems. Among those who did have challenges, the cost of care was the most common problem cited. 

Among children who have parents who report difficulties finding high-quality and affordable child care, 36 percent have parents who said these challenges have made it hard for them to find and retain employment.

Time Spent on Homework

California children spend an average of 7.7 hours per week doing homework, according to the survey. Asian/Pacific Islander children spend more time each week on homework (9.9 hours) than White (7.5 hours), Latino/Hispanic (6.9 hours) and Black (7.0 hours) children. Differences by other demographic factors are not statistically significant.

Parents indicate that the majority of children have "about the right amount" of homework (71 percent), while 14 percent have too much homework, and 12 percent do not have enough. Parents of Latino/Hispanic children are most likely to be satisfied with the amount of homework their child receives (77 percent), and parents of White children are most likely to believe their child has too much homework (23 percent).

Influence of Media

Parents of roughly half (57 percent) of children in California believe the media has had a positive impact on their children, according to the survey. By contrast, parents of 9 percent of children believe that media has no effect on their children, and parents of 24 percent believe the media has had a negative impact on their children. Differences across parent education, household income, and parent birthplace are not statistically significant. However, key differences were found in parent perceptions of media's effect on children by race/ethnicity and age:

  • White (33 percent) and Black children (29 percent) are more likely than Latino/Hispanic (19 percent) or Asian/Pacific Islander children (19 percent) to have parents who think that media's impact on their children is negative.
  • Older children (33 percent for ages 14-17) are more likely to have parents who think media has a negative effect than very young children (10 percent for ages 0-5).

Family Time

A majority of California children have parents who are satisfied with the amount of time spent with their family. Parents of 71 percent think that they have the right amount of time together; parents of 18 percent believe that they do not have enough; and parents of 11 percent think they have too much family time. Parents' perceptions about family time vary by demographic group:

  • Children in single-parent families are significantly more likely to have parents who report that their family does not have enough time together (25 percent) than other children (17 percent).
  • Children with household incomes above $100,000 are more likely to have parents who feel that they don't have enough family time (23-29 percent) than children with household incomes below $25,000 (12 percent).

Parental Depression

About one out of four children (26 percent) in California has a parent who believes that he or she has needed help for depression since becoming a parent, and 16 percent have parents who have been diagnosed with depression by a medical professional, according to the survey. 

Native-born parents are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than foreign-born parents, and single parents are more likely to be diagnosed than those in two-parent households.

Compared to children whose parents have not dealt with depression, children whose parents have needed help with depression are more likely to:

  • Be in very poor, poor, or fair overall emotional health
  • Live in single-parent families
  • Have native-born parents
  • Be Black or White
  • Have a parent who feels that their income is "not quite enough" or "not nearly enough" to provide for basic needs
  • Be overweight
  • Have special health care needs

Also, children whose parents have needed help with depression are more likely to have a very high or high level of stress compared to children whose parents have not needed help with depression.

Reading to Kids

According to parents, nearly half (46 percent) of children ages 0-17 in California read books with family members at least five to six times per week. As might be expected, parents and family members are most likely to read with young children: 69 percent of children ages 0-5 read or look at books with their families at least five to six times per week.

Children in families with household incomes below $25,000 are less likely to be read to five to six times per week or more (39 percent) than children in families with household incomes of more than $100,000 (51-52 percent). In addition, children of foreign-born parents are less likely to be read to at least five to six times per week (39 percent) than children of native-born parents (52 percent).

Special Health Care Needs

Among children with special health care needs (CSHCN) in California, survey results indicate that roughly one-third are in very poor, poor, or fair overall emotional health compared to 7 percent of other children; similarly, about one in three CSHCN need or receive psychological services compared to 3 percent of other children. 

Children with special health care needs are also more likely to have high levels of stress (31 percent) than children without special needs (9 percent), and CSHCN are about twice as likely to have parents who are concerned about their child's stress. In addition, almost one in five CSHCN is struggling with depression, according to their parents, compared to 5 percent of children without special needs.

Visits to Doctor

The survey found that approximately 79 percent of children (ages 0-17) had a well-child visit in the past year. Out of all age groups, preteens (ages 9-13) were the least likely (70 percent) to have had a routine health check-up in the past year. Children ages 0-5 are more likely to have had a well-child visit (93 percent) in the past year than any other age group. 

This survey also showed that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have had routine doctor visits during the past year. For example:

  • Children of native-born parents are more likely to have visited the doctor in the past year (85 percent) than children of foreign-born parents (72 percent).
  • Children whose primary home language is English are more likely to have had a well-child visit in the past year (83 percent) than children with a primary language other than English (66-75 percent).
  • Children who live in households with annual incomes less than $25,000 are less likely to have had a routine check-up (69 percent) than children from higher income groups (78-86 percent).
  • Children whose parents did not graduate from high school are less likely to have had a well-child visit in the past year (69 percent) compared to children whose parents have more education (78-82 percent).