December 4, 2020
An estimated 93% of families with young children cannot afford center-based care for their infants and toddlers, and 80% cannot afford somewhat less expensive home-based care, according to a new analysis from Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC). While the cost burden of high-quality child care is a national crisis, the challenge for families in New York City is even greater where the cost of living is higher and economic inequalities deep.
“In New York and across the country, families and communities are struggling with job and income loss, food insecurity, and unaffordable health care and housing costs. This crisis is compounded by the dearth of affordable child care. The absence of affordable child care, leaves families with young children facing significant strain to maintain stable employment or re-enter the workforce,” said Jennifer March, CCC’s executive director. “Leaders at every level of government must take bold and immediate actions to significantly expand access to affordable infant and toddler care as a critical means through which to achieve healthy, young child development and to support parental employment stability and economic mobility.”
The brief examines child care cost burden and affordability and draws on data on the cost of center-based and home-based child care in New York City from the 2019 New York State Child Care Market Rate Survey Report. Center-based care for infant and toddlers is close to $19,000 a year, and care in licensed home-based settings averages over $10,000 annually based on the State survey.
Among other key findings in CCC’s analysis:
“We cannot take for granted the essential role early care plays in both ensuring the healthy development of our youngest New Yorkers, as well as the employment stability and economic mobility of their caregivers,” said Bijan Kimiagar, associate executive director for research at CCC. “Families with young children live in every community in New York City, which means a more robust and affordable child care infrastructure is needed throughout the city.”
“For families in some communities throughout the city, such as East Harlem in Manhattan, or Brownsville in Brooklyn, or Morrisania in the Bronx, even less expensive home-based care poses a significant cost burden to families,” said CCC data analyst, Sophia Halkitis, who co-authored the analysis. “And when we look at the data for single parent families with young children in these communities, we see how access to high quality care opportunities are effectively inaccessible to the children and families who may benefit from them the most.”
Exacerbating the child care affordability crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced working families to find alternative child care options and forced many caregivers out of the workforce altogether. CCC’s brief draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household PULSE survey to draw attention to:
“Our analysis underscores the crucial need for child care to help families recover from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Daryl Hornick-Becker, policy and advocacy associate at CCC. “We’re calling on federal, state, and local leaders to take action to ensure that child care is accessible and affordable for families with young children living in New York City.”
In light of findings in the report, CCC is calling on government leaders to prioritize the following set of recommendations:
Findings from this analysis on the child care cost burden and affordability of child care, as well as hundreds of indicators on children and family well-being in New York City, are available on CCC’s interactive database, data.cccnewyork.org