families are particularly likely to rely on relatives for infant and toddler care (39 percent of Hispanic families do so; Capizzano et al., 2000; Ehrle et al., 2000), compared with black (27 percent) and white families (25 percent).
At the same time, as noted above, there has been extremely rapid growth in reliance on center-based care not only for preschoolers, but also for infants and toddlers (see Figure 11-4). The share of children under age 3 in child care centers, preschools, Head Start programs, and other early childhood education programs tripled between 1977 and 1994, from 8 percent to 24 percent of children with employed mothers (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1982, 1997). In contrast to patterns of family-based care, center-based care is used much more by black and white families than by Hispanic families, with the largest discrepancies appearing for infant and toddler arrangements (rates of use are 30, 24, and 10 percent, respectively; Capizzano et al., 2000; Ehrle et al., 2000). The increased use of center care has been accompanied by declining use of family child care providers. Nevertheless, as of 1997, 39 percent of infants and toddlers and 59 percent of preschoolers were in center-based or family child care arrangements with nonrelatives (see Figure 11-2), revealing the rapid movement of children into formal care settings and peer groupings during the earliest years of life.
In sum, vast numbers of infants spend substantial portions of their time in child care, often starting within a few months after birth. While much of this very early care remains within the family—with parents who are juggling their work schedules and with relatives —young children move rapidly into nonrelative care as they enter the toddler and preschool years. Al-