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Survey Finds 40% of Parents Have Gone Into Debt Over Child Care Costs

Resource November 30, 2021

A new survey from The Penny Hoarder has found that 40% of parents have gone into debt over the high costs of child care, making the passage of the Build Back Better Act all the more urgent. 

The data isn’t surprising: In 40 states and the District of Columbia, child care costs for two children exceed the average mortgage cost. Key findings of the poll include: 

  • 4 out of 10 parents have gone into debt due to the cost of child care.
  • More than a quarter of parents have had to move to a different home to afford child care. 
  • Almost 38% of parents have had to take on a second job or side hustle to afford care for their children.
  • Almost 28% of parents say they’ve had to choose between paying for child care or paying their rent or mortgage on time.
  • Half of the parents surveyed reported spending at least 25% of their income on child care. 
  • According to The Penny Hoarder’s last child care survey in 2018, the median percentage of income parents said they spent on child care was 15%.

Our takeaway: The astronomical cost of child care is forcing Americans to go into debt, keeping parents out of the workforce and drastically limiting families’ economic potential. 

Parents’ inability to access and afford child care causes higher rates of employee absence, turnover, and working parents to leave the workforce. The child care and pre-K provisions of the Build Back Better Act will: 

  • Cap annual child care spending at 7% of family income for those earning up to 250% of State Median Income (SMI).
  • Produce more than $5,000 in child care savings per year for two parents with one toddler earning $100,000 per year. Nearly all families of four making up to $300,000 per year will be eligible.
  • Enable 20 million children to access affordable high-quality child care.
  • Support providers with increased wages to shore up and strengthen the child care workforce.

Click here for a state-by-state look at child care cost savings for families under the Build Back Better Act.

Click here for information on the child care provisions in the Build Back Better Act.

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