A recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) sheds light on the childcare crisis in America, revealing the tremendous financial burden it places on parents and the resulting economic ripple effects.
The report highlights that 13% of children aged 5 and younger have seen their families face job changes due to childcare issues, such as quitting a job, declining a job offer, or significantly altering their employment situation in the past year
This childcare crisis has left many parents unable to take advantage of the economic gains experienced in the post-pandemic labor market. While the Great Resignation saw workers leaving jobs for better opportunities, the report’s data suggests that a significant number of families faced a different outcome.
Analyzing data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, the AECF created a map showing the percentage of children up to age 5 whose families had to make job changes due to childcare challenges in each state. Arizona, North Carolina, and Vermont had the highest shares at 16%, while Nebraska had the lowest at 6%. Lisa Hamilton, the president, and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, emphasized that many parents struggle to find childcare options that fit their work schedules and commutes.
Childcare costs in the United States are notoriously high
The report reveals that Washington, DC; Massachusetts; and Connecticut have the highest costs for center-based childcare for toddlers. In DC, the cost of care accounts for 11% of a married couple’s median income with children, while in Massachusetts and Connecticut, it amounts to 13% of their income.
However, even if parents can afford the high costs, access to childcare is often limited. An analysis from the Center for American Progress found that over half of Americans lived in childcare deserts in 2018, where the number of children outnumbered available licensed care slots by at least three to one. Consequently, nearly three million children had family members facing work challenges due to childcare issues.
Working parents also struggle with frequent interruptions caused by childcare problems. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that many working parents have had to miss work due to childcare issues. Although there has been a slight decline in the number of employed individuals not working due to childcare problems compared to the peak of the pandemic, it remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.