Skip to main content
No Access

What Kids Get from Parents: Packages of Parental Involvement across Complex Family Forms

University of Wisconsin–MadisonUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison

While demographers continue to document the notable changes in family structure that have occurred in recent decades, little is known about the quality of parental investment that children receive across a range of contemporary family types. Employing data from a recent US urban birth cohort, we examine parental investment for children ages 1, 3, and 5 in two key domains: parent-child engagement (across three potential parent figures) and access to economic resources. Overall, we find that children living with their married biological parents are advantaged in both parental engagement and household income, while children living in other family types are less advantaged in one or both domains. Our research illuminates how changing family demography is related to parental investments in children, which has implications for public policies designed to support low-income families.