Disparities in parental investments in children’s care and education help initiate processes that maintain and exacerbate socioeconomic and other forms of inequality across generations. Compared to the growing literature on social class disparities in parental spending on children’s education and care, little is known about racial differences in these investments. This study used the Consumer Expenditure Survey from 2011-2017 to examine differences in parental spending on children’s care and education as a function of both racial/ethnic identity and social class. We asked the following research questions: Are there racial/ethnic differences in parental spending on children? If so, how much of those differences are explained by measures of socioeconomic status, income, parents’ education, and family wealth? And, are there racial/ethnic differences in parental spending on child care and education within social class groups?
Heather D. Hill is an associate professor in the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. She is also a faculty affiliate of the West Coast Poverty Center and the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington.
Her research examines how public and workplace policies influence family economic circumstances and child wellbeing in low-income families. She brings an inter-disciplinary lens to these topics, integrating theoretical and methodological insights from developmental psychology, economics, and sociology. Hill’s current research projects include: trends and consequences of income instability in households with children, effects of local and state minimum wage laws, and effects of state earned income tax credits on multiple forms of violence.
Hill received a Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern University. She also has a master’s in public policy from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in political science from the University of Washington. Hill spent three years as a research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. in Washington, D.C., and two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Ivory Coast.