The Value of Support: Private Safety Nets among Families with Young Children
Natasha Pilkauskas, Columbia University
Andrea Alvarado Urbina, Columbia University
A number of studies have documented the importance of private safety nets in helping families make ends meet, linking social support with improved outcomes for families. Despite strong evidence suggesting the importance of private safety nets for wellbeing, little is known about the economic value of private support. We estimate the value of private support among families with young children, using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. We focus on three types of social support: childcare from kin or friends, doubling up, and private financial transfers. We study packages of support received, estimate the economic value of support, compare private support with public support, and study differences by demographic characteristics. Initial findings suggest that about half of families receive some form of private support and the estimated value of private support is large – kin care is worth about $2500/year, doubling up $2700/year, and financial transfer $2500/year.