Seth Low, 60, a social work research analyst for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, died Friday of cancer at his home in Silver Spring.

Mr. Low had worked for HEW since 1955, and was the author of several major publications on child welfare, including "Child Care Arrangement of Working Mothers in the United States," issued in 1968.

Most recently he was the manager in charge of federal grants to colleges that train personnel in child and family services.

Born in New York City, Mr. Low was a graduate of the City College of New York and held a master's degree from the University of Chicago.

He was a lieutenant in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and later worked for the welfare departments of New York City and Michigan. He taught at the University of Illinois for several years before joining HEW.

Mr. Low was a member of the National Association of Social Workers. He played the recorder as a hobby and belonged to the Washington Recorder Society.

Surviving are his wife, Mary Alice, and a son, Seth, both of the home; three daughters, Deborah, of Binghampton, N.Y., Miriam, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Jacqueline, of the home; a sister, Rose Kinburn, and a brother, Gustave, both of New York City.