New Analysis Illustrates How Affordable Early Child Care is Out of Reach for Most NYC Families

Press Releases

June 20, 2023

NEW YORK – New data released by Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) illustrate the fiscal strain placed on families with young children in New York City due to the high cost of child care including preschool. The cost burden analysis shows the vast majority of families with children under five cannot afford child care and highlights the critical need to expand and stabilize the publicly funded early education system.

“Child care and preschool services are vital resources for children and families, promoting both young child development and school readiness, and offering critical support to working parents,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director at CCC. “Sadly, our research continues to demonstrate the challenges families face accessing affordable care. We have a crucial opportunity in the city budget negotiations underway to protect and expand access to early care and education; meeting child and family needs, promoting child and family well-being, and our city’s economic recovery.”

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • A family with one infant and one preschool age child earning the median income for families with young children ($86,000) would spend 43% of their annual income on center-based child care alone; or 36% of income for care in home-based settings.
  • A family with one child under the age of five might spend between 14% and 41% of their income on child care alone, depending on household income.
  • In ten communities in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the range is even higher: Center-based child care would consume more than 40% of median income for families; and could consume 80% of median family income among single parent-headed households.
  • Among all families with young children citywide, only 7% of ALL families can afford center-based child care for one infant or toddler, and only 14% can afford child care for one preschool age child in center-based child care settings.
  • In less expensive home-based child care settings, more families in the city can afford care, but still more than 80% of families would NOT be able to afford child care for one infant or toddler, or one preschooler.

The analysis examines the cost of child care for one child as a percentage of median household income for families with at least one child under age five, looking at both infant/toddler and preschool age child care cost burden separately. Preschool child care cost estimate refers to any full day child care option that families need to use if their child does not receive publicly funded pre-K, 3-K or vouchers.

“Across New York City communities, our analysis shows that access to affordable child care is a luxury that is out of reach for far too many families,” said Rimsha Khan, the research associate at CCC who produced this analysis. ”A family earning the median income would most likely spend no less than 35% of their income to provide child care for two children under age 5. Considering that 53% of families with children citywide are rent burdened, these families would spend more than half of their annual income on housing and child care costs alone.”

Based on these findings, CCC is urging leaders in Mayor Adams’ administration and the City Council to ensure the Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 takes action to build a more sustainable path to universal access to early care and education.

“The cuts proposed by the City Administration would have a devastating impact on an already vulnerable publicly funded system,” said Rebecca Charles, Policy and Advocacy Associate at CCC. “City leaders must consider the concerns of parents and community-based providers and work to restore funding for 3-K, convert open seats to meet demand for extended-day and full-year care, ensure access to care for immigrant households, and adequately pay community-based providers.”

CCC budget recommendations include:

  • Fund the 3-K for All program and restore the timeline for expansion to universality.
  • Convert open 3-K school-day/year seats to extended-day/year seats, beginning by implementing the City Council’s proposal to invest $15 million in a pilot program to convert 1,000 seats.
  • Renew the Promise NYC program, which provides access to child care for immigrant households, by investing and baselining $20 million.
  • Invest and baseline $4 million for the LIFE Project, which ensures multilingual immigrant outreach and support for accessing and enrolling in child care.
  • Fund a new labor contract that advances equity and salary parity between community based organization (CBO) directors, teachers, and support staff and their DOE counterparts. This includes capturing directors and preschool special educators left out of the initial agreement, factoring in longevity when determining salaries, and setting a wage floor  for  support staff.
  • Fund robust community level outreach and engagement and permit on site enrollment at centers and family child care networks.

“Through our research, we have heard from parents and providers about the myriad ways in which the existing system is failing to meet the needs of working families in New York City,” said Bijan Kimiagar, Associate Executive Director for Research at CCC. “It is our hope that our findings will help City leaders understand the urgent need to protect and expand the early care and education system and support the continued economic recovery of family households, communities, and the city.”

The community-level data underwriting the cost burden analysis is available to the public free of charge in CCC’s online database, Keeping Track Online ( This analysis is the latest in a series of research reports put about by CCC highlighting the need for immediate and long-term solutions in the early care and education system which is currently targeted for significant cuts in the budget for FY 2024. In March 2023, CCC released a comprehensive report, The Youngest New Yorkers: Building a Path Toward a Universal Early Care & Education System in New York City which detailed findings from a year-long study that included analysis of government data, a survey of parents, and focus groups with parents and providers, outlining a roadmap to system success and stability.


About CCC

Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) educates and mobilizes New Yorkers to make the city a better place for children. CCC’s advocacy combines public policy research and data analysis with citizen action. CCC casts light on the issues, educates the public, engages allies, and identifies and promotes practical solutions to ensure that every New York City child is healthy, housed, educated and safe. For more information about CCC, visit

Explore Related Content