Pennsylvania's surging childcare costs
Childcare is becoming so expensive that some Pennsylvania parents have quit jobs or left the workforce entirely to care for their children.
Driving the news: The average cost of center-based daycare in Pennsylvania in 2021 was $11,346, amounting to 10 percent of a married couple's median income, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
- The burden on single parents was much higher, representing 35% of their median incomes.
Why it matters: Rising childcare costs can be financially crippling and disproportionately impact single working women, families of color and immigrants, experts say.
The big picture: Twelve percent of Pennsylvania's children under 5 lived in households in which someone quit, changed jobs or couldn't work because of childcare barriers.
- Women were five to eight times more likely than men to suffer "negative employment consequences," per the report.
By the numbers: Center-based care for two children ate up about 56% of Black working mothers' median household incomes — more than double that of a white working mother, per an analysis of 2017 national data cited in the report.
- For Latinos and Native American and Alaska Natives, it was 42% and 51%, respectively.
Yes, but: Home-based care in Pennsylvania was about $2,400 cheaper on average than center-based care.
What they're saying: Experts say more can be done to help struggling families. About 12 million children are in childcare, but only 1.3 million currently receive federal subsidies to offset costs.
- "When we hear folks talk about the cost of childcare [being] equivalent to rent or a mortgage, that certainly tracks," Kari King of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children tells Axios.
Plus, an industry-wide staff shortage has exacerbated the problem of access and affordability, with children being waitlisted. The average Pennsylvania childcare worker earned $12.50 an hour, King said.
💰 Mike’s thought bubble: My monthly childcare costs for two children under 4 feels like a college tuition.
- I also don’t understand why free schooling (i.e. childcare) begins for kids at 3 years old and not earlier.
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