A recent study claims that pricing is “untenable for families,” even for those who live in locations where rates are lower and that parents in Lake County with small children spend around 14% of their income on child care.
According to the National Database of Childcare Prices, which provides the most thorough look yet at how childcare expenses vary across 2,360 counties in 47 states, that equates to nearly $16,506 per year in 2022 dollars. The Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor released the report earlier this week.
The study uses the most recent data on childcare expenses from 2018, inflation-adjusted to 2022 dollars. It demonstrates how childcare costs vary significantly across the country, from $4,810 ($5,357 in 2022 dollars) for school-aged home-based care in tiny counties to $15,417 ($17,171 in 2022 dollars) for newborn center-based care in huge counties. According to the survey, child care expense accounts for between 8.3 and 19.3 percent of the typical household income per child.
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- The median cost of center-based baby care for one kid ranged from $7,461 ($8,310 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $15,417 ($17,171 in 2022 dollars) in huge counties, with infant care consistently costing more than other types of child care.
- Infant care costs ranged from $5,824 ($6,486 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $9,892 ($11,018 in 2022 dollars) in huge counties, according to home-based providers.
- Center-based costs for preschool-aged children ranged from $6,239 ($6,949 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $11,050 ($12,307 in 2022 dollars) in huge counties.
- In small counties, the cost of in-home childcare was $5,541 ($6,171 in 2022 dollars), while in huge counties, it was $9,019 ($10,045 in 2022 dollars).
- Families with many children enrolled in before- and after-school care or center-based childcare are even more burdened. According to the analysis, 29% of households with children under six had two or more of those youngsters.
The Women’s Bureau report observed that high childcare costs keep some families out of the workforce, particularly women. With typical earnings of $32,247 annually, women make up roughly 75% of the labor force in Lake County. The typical family’s yearly income is $105,329 per year. 6.2 percent of families also experience poverty.
According to the data, even a 10% rise in childcare expenditures results in a 1% drop in the proportion of mothers working. Mothers’ employment decreased by two percentage points with a 50% rise, and by four percentage points in counties where childcare prices more than doubled.
According to the analysis, areas with higher income for women did, on average, have more mothers in the workforce. However, the higher pay did not entirely offset a decline in maternal employment brought on by increased childcare expenditures.
According to the Women’s Bureau report, the current funding system, which primarily relies on overburdened families and underpaid childcare workers who earn a median of $13.22 an hour and are twice as likely to live below the poverty line as workers in other sectors, contributes to significant employee turnover that results in a shortage of accessible child care.
According to the survey, it is impractical to expect providers who spend between 60 and 80 percent of their operating budgets on salaries. According to the research, families are unable to pay more, which “means that the childcare sector needs substantial government support to function efficiently and ultimately succeed,” according to the research.
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The United States government spends less on early child care and education than other high-wage nations; it ranks 35th among OECD nations for spending on early care and education of children ages 0–5—less than $500 per child.
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