By the Numbers
$57 Billion: The annual cost of the U.S. childcare crisis - $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue.
$12.7 Billion: American companies are losing an estimated $12.7 billion each year due to childcare challenges faced by their workforce.
86%: Percent of primary caregivers who have said problems with childcare hurt their efforts or time commitment at work.
51%: Percent of Americans who live in childcare deserts
40%: Average percent of income single parents spend on childcare annually.
97%: Percent of military childcare centers that are accredited.
10%: Percent of civilian childcare centers that are accredited.
America is facing a childcare crisis.
Sending your infant to childcare costs more than sending your teenager to a four-year college.
For the first time since the 1970s, the percentage of women choosing to stay home after giving birth is increasing because it makes financial sense.
If the U.S. had similar labor force participation rates to Canada or Germany, countries with labor market policies such as paid leave, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, we would have roughly 5.5 million more women working, and would put an additional $500 billion into the U.S. economy. Childcare is an economic issue.
It’s also a health and human rights issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that there should be one childcare provider to three children, but this is not the norm in childcare centers across the country. In fact, there are fifteen states that fully exempt religious institutions with daycare centers from licensing rules. Indiana is one of them. In a four-year period Indiana saw the death of 31 children in childcare centers. 21 occurred at unlicensed or illegal day care centers.
The childcare market does not work. The cost to supply quality early care is more than families are able to pay, yet nearly half of childcare workers live on public assistance and aren’t able to afford childcare for their own children. Childcare workers earn approximately $10 per hour, less than one-third of what Kindergarten teachers earn. The United States government must significantly invest in childcare in a similar manner to how we subsidize the K-12 public education system. We need Universal Childcare.
97% of military childcare programs have been independently accredited, versus just 10% of civilian programs. In 1989, the Military Child Care Act established strict childcare standards for all military programs that greatly exceed requirements for civilian childcare. Ony 10 states require comprehensive background checks for civilian center-based childcare providers. We need to make sure that all American children have access to affordable quality care. Laws vary widely state by state and as a result the safety and availability of childcare is variable.
The Vote Mama Foundation is conducting a 50-state review and in-depth policy analysis into federal and state laws and regulations, regarding the quality and cost of childcare in the United States and their economic impacts on American families. We are working with legislators and candidates, and building a grassroots army of volunteers to help us pass legislation that will protect our children and help families survive the cost of childcare.