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.

December 1, 2010

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How location factors into a family’s child care expenses.

  2. 2

    What percent of their paycheck a family in poverty spends on child care.

  3. 3

    How a mother's education level impacts what proportion of the family's paycheck goes toward child care.

  4. 4

    How child care subsidies can help families in need make ends meet.

Key Takeaway

The bottom line: Poorer families spend more of their paychecks on child care

America’s poorest working families spend 32% of their household incomes on child care. By comparison, their wealthier counterparts devote just 7 to 8% of their paychecks to cover child care costs. Otherwise put: Households that are already struggling to make ends meet are also shouldering the heaviest financial burden when it comes to obtaining safe and reliable care for their children. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations