This paper presents a portrait of family, child care and neigbourhood characteristics of a representative sample of 5-month-old infants in Québec in 1998. Type of family, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the parents, child care arrangements, housing conditions, and neighbourhood cohesion are analyzed. Certain characteristics of absent biological fathers are also examined.
The cross-sectional portrait is based on a sample of 2,223 children, approximately 5 months of age, whose parent(s) accepted to participate in ELDEQ 1998-2002, a five-year longitudinal study. This paper has two goals - familiarize the reader with characteristics of the target population in Year 1 of the study, and facilitate understanding of the results which are presented in subsequent papers. To illustrate the wealth of data the survey is providing, promising directions for further research are suggested.