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Child Care Costs Eat Up More of Lake County Parents Income
A new analysis deems Lake County child care fees “untenable for families,” even in places with lower rates. Parents with young children spend around 14% of their income on child care. According to the National Database of Childcare Prices, that’s $16,506 in 2022 dollars. The Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau released the study this week.
Inflation-adjusted 2018 childcare cost data is included in the report. It reveals that nationally, school-age home-based care in small counties costs $4,810 ($5,357 in 2022 dollars) while infant center-based care in very large counties costs $15,417 ($17,171 in 2022). The report says child care costs 8-19.3% of the median household income per child.
Infant care costs ranged from $7,461 ($8,310 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $15,417 ($17,171 in 2022 dollars) in extremely large counties. Home-based baby care ranged from $5,824 ($6,486 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $9,892 ($11,018 in 2022 dollars) in very large counties.
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Center-based preschool rates ranged from $6,239 ($6,949 in 2022 dollars) in small counties to $11,050 ($12,307 in 2022 dollars) in extremely large counties. Small counties paid $5,541 ($6,171 in 2022 dollars) for home-based child care, while large counties paid $9,019 ($10,045 in 2022 dollars).
Multiple children in before- and after-school or center-based child care increase the strain. 29 percent of households with under-6 children have two or more. According to the Women’s Bureau report, high childcare costs are keeping some families—especially women—out of the workforce.
75% of Lake County women work and earn $32,247 a year. The family median income is $105,329. 6.2% of families are impoverished. Even a 10% rise in childcare expenditures reduces working moms by 1%. In counties where childcare expenses doubled, maternal employment dropped 4 percentage points, while a 50% increase reduced 2 percentage points.
The survey found that counties with greater female incomes had more working moms, but higher childcare expenses reduced maternal employment. The Women’s Bureau report said the current funding system, which relies on overburdened families and underpaid childcare workers, who earn a median of $13.22 an hour and are twice as likely as other workers to live below the poverty line, leads to high employee turnover and a shortage of affordable child care.
The research said asking providers, who spend 60–80% of their operating budgets on labor, is untenable. The report stated, “meaning the childcare sector needs substantial government investment to perform adequately and eventually prosper.” Families cannot pay more. The U.S. spends less than $500 per kid on early child care and education compared to other high-wage countries, placing 35th in the OECD.
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