This policy brief highlights a sobering reality that many working families know all to well: Child care in America is expensive. But the newsflash is this: Relative to their wealthier counterparts, poorer households devote five times as much of their paychecks to cover child care costs. This data-packed document makes a quick and convincing case for investing in a vital lifeline — child care subsidies — to aid the nation’s neediest families.
The bottom line: Poorer families spend more of their paychecks on child care
Findings & Stats
Child care subsidies helped families regain 5% of their paychecks; recipient households spent just 14% of their income on child care costs. By comparison, families that did not receive assistance devoted 19% of their paychecks to child care.
Different Settings; Same Need
Child care is a considerable expense for poor and low-income working families regardless of where they live. As a result, child care subsidies are an important — and even essential — work support for many low-income families.
How Education Enters the Equation
Working mothers without a high school diploma spend more of their paychecks on child care (16% in rural areas; 11% in cities) relative to their college-educated counterparts.
Country vs. City Families
Though rural families pay less for child care each month, they also earn less. As a result, rural and urban families spend a similar proportion of their family income on child care.
Statements & Quotations
In hard times, affordable, high-quality child care takes on growing importance, as many families, particularly those with low incomes, struggle to make ends meet.
As more families become eligible for subsidies, increased investment in child care assistance is essential to help families maintain and seek employment.
Subscribe to our newsletter to get our data, reports and news in your inbox.