RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2019-11

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2019-11


Children Without Soccer Mom or Dad: Impacts of Parents' Auto-Immobility to Children's Travel


Although many children travel to after-school opportunities to build human capital, with transportation supports from their parents (so-called soccer moms/dads), not every family can afford soccer moms or dads. When household resources are limited, adult members often determine their residential place and vehicle ownership solely based on jobs accessibility, giving little consideration on children's travel opportunities. This paper provides empirical evidences of negative impacts of the automobility choice of low-income parents' automobility choice on children's life using the day trip data of National Household Travel Survey in 2009 in the United States. I find that children's non-school trips are less frequent when more household adults are working, and more severely when they have auto-immobile working-mother. This tendency is particularly visible among Hispanic immigrants. Total travel time is not significantly different between children with auto-immobile parents and those with automobile parents. In other words, children with auto-immobile parents spend equivalent time for transportation as those who with automobile parents, without reaching comparable number of opportunities. The findings suggest that auto-immobility of adult members, particularly auto-immobility of mothers, undermines children's welfare. It also suggests that auto-immobility of parents may have negative inter-generational consequences through unavailability educational and/or social opportunities outside school.


Children, Automobility, Immigrants, Hispanics, National Household Travel Survey


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