Inequality in Parental Investment in Childrearing: Time, Expenditures, and Health

Kei Nomaguchi, University of Maryland
Philip Cohen, University of California, Irvine
Sara Raley, University of Maryland
Publication Date:
Jan 2003
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

In this chapter, we examine three major ways in which parents invest in their children. First, they bestow material resources on their children. Second, they spend time with them doing an array of activities that are aimed at promoting the health and well-being of their offspring. Finally, parents contribute or detract from their ability to make investments in rearing children to successful adulthood by how well they take care of themselves. Thus, a third area we focus on is the health behaviors of parents. Although the link between parental health behaviors and child outcomes is not as direct as that between outcomes and the time and money spent on children, nonetheless parents’ behaviors set examples for children -- and healthier parents are in a better position to make the necessary time and money investments that childrearing requires.


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