The Cost of Child Care in America Is Even More Outrageous Than You Thought

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Photo: Long Story Short Media
Media Outlet: Slate

The New America Care Report was covered in Slate:

One of the stranger policy twists in this very strange election season is that the high cost of child care has become a favorite talking point for both the Democratic and Republican nominees for president. Hillary Clinton proposescapping child care expenses at 10 percent of a family’s income. And Donald Trump has said he would allow parents to deduct the cost of child care from their income taxes—thereby excluding the low-income families who most need help, but never mind. Forty-five years after President Nixon vetoed a universal child care plan because of its “family-weakening implications,” today both major-party nominees see child care costs as a problem that benefits them to address.
Today, a new joint report from the think tank New America and Care.com illustrates why. In short, the cost of child care in America is outrageous. The average cost of enrolling a child age 4 or younger full-time at a child care center in America is $9,589 a year, which is higher than the average cost of in-state college tuition. A family earning the median household income would spend 18 percent of it on child care. For a single parent earning minimum wage, child care would eat up 64 percent of her income. And that’s for one child. For perspective, child care is considered affordable if it doesn’t exceed 10 percent of a family’s income, according to standards from the Department of Health and Human Services. Not only are current costs way beyond that for many parents, but they have risen at nearly twice the rate of inflation since the end of the recession.