The Costs of Child Care
When a single paycheck no longer supports the whole family, both mom and dad are forced to head outside of the home to bring in the bacon. But a rise in child care costs over the past few decades suggests that this family dynamic may be changing.
Today’s parents are scaling back at work to care for their kids.
Six out of every 10 families have both parents working and demand for child care has never been higher. The child care industry has grown in large numbers over the past 25 years, making it harder for parents to find affordable child care when children are young and after school, or when school is not in session. Even with affordable care, parents must be able to handle the occasional call from their child care provider telling them their child is too sick to stay in school, or needs to see a physician. Without some supportive or flexible work environments, it can be difficult to handle these situations when the time arises.
For many families, the cost of child care has forced cutting back hours at the office. Year after year, it has been one of the largest annual household expenses, averaging $18,000 for a single child in the United States. Reliable child care has not only been increasing in price, but it is also hard to find in many areas.
To date, more than 3/4 of mothers and 1/2 of fathers in the U.S. say that they have passed up work opportunities, opted for less hours, switched jobs, or even quit work altogether to take care of their little ones.
What do you think? Should parents cut back at the office? Or should child care become more affordable?