New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s introduction of pre-kindergarten for all three-year-olds (3-K For All) is a promising development in a city where voters believe investing in children can help ensure success in school. But the mayor’s strongest supporters still want to see City Hall make an increased investment in child care, after-school and summer programming for children. Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) commissioned Global Strategy Group on behalf of the Campaign for Children (C4C) to poll New Yorkers to gain insight into how they are managing to meet the needs of their children and families in the current economic climate and whether or not they want child care, after-school and summer programs to be prioritized by the City administration.
800 New Yorkers likely to vote in the upcoming general election, including 537 likely Democratic primary voters, were surveyed from April 6-10, 2017 . The results show that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers want to see increased funding for high-quality early childhood education, after-school and summer programs for their children. In addition, anxieties run high as nearly eight in ten voters said they worry about being able to afford raising a family in the city. The poll found voters support expanding access to free and reduced price child care, after-school and summer programming, even if it means raising taxes.
Key findings from the survey include:
Voters support expanding access to free and reduced price childcare, afterschool, and summer programming, even if it means raising taxes. Overwhelming majorities of General Election (87% support, with 64% strongly) and Democratic primary (92% support, with 70% strongly) voters support expanding access to these programs. This support extends across all five boroughs and demographic groupings, including gender, race, and income level. There continues to be broad support for expansion even when voters are informed that it could result in a tax increase for city residents like them (General Election: 64%, Dem primary: 71%).
The high costs of raising a family in New York City are a major source of financial stress for working parents. Voters recognize that the cost of childcare is a major financial burden for New York City’s families (General Election: 83% agree, Dem primary: 85%), and parents often worry about continuing to be able to afford raising a family in New York City (76% General Election, 74% Dem primary). More than half (55%) of New York City parents worry about missing work or falling behind at work due to a lack of consistent, reliable, and affordable childcare, and one in four voters (25% General Election, 26% Dem primary) say they think very often about moving their family outside of the city to be able to afford quality childcare and afterschool care for their family.
Voters believe investing in childcare, afterschool, and summer programming can help ensure New York City children’s success in school. Voters view strengthening K through 12 education in New York City’s public schools as a major priority (General Election: 85%, Dem primary: 93%) and view support programs for families as a critical part of achieving this goal. Voters recognize the impact of programs like childcare, pre-kindergarten, afterschool, and summer programs on short- and long-term achievement outcomes for children (88% General Election, 91% Dem primary), and believe pre-kindergarten programs, including New York City’s universal pre-K program for four-year-olds, help give all children a fair shot at success in school (88% General Election, 91% Dem primary).
New Yorkers give the Mayor credit for his work thus far but think there is more to be done. While voters give the Mayor credit for improving the lives of New York City’s families and children (General Election: 69%, Dem primary: 77%), they believe his office should invest more to ensure parents have access to year-round affordable, high-quality afterschool and summer programs for school age children (66% General Election, 70% Dem primary) and childcare during the work day for children under five (63% General Election, 68% Democratic primary).