New Report Finds 80% of New York City Families Cannot Afford Child Care for Children Under 5

Press Releases

October 5, 2023


Nearly 4 Out of 5 Families Cannot Afford Out-of-School Care for Children Ages 6 to 12

Study Highlights Magnitude of NYC’s Child Care Affordability Crisis with Outsized Impact On Low-to Middle-Income Single-Parent Families in the Bronx, Brooklyn

New York – Today, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) released a new report that finds the vast majority of New York City families cannot afford any form of child care – from early childhood care for children under 5 years of age to out-of-school care for children ages 6 to 12. The analysis, titled “From Birth to Age 12: The (Un)Affordability of Child Care and Out-of-School Care in New York City,” reveals that more than 80% of families with children under five cannot afford child care in the city, while nearly four out of five families citywide cannot afford out-of-school care for school-aged children.

“Access to high quality, affordable child and out-of-school care is necessary to support child development, school readiness, and the success of children and plays a vital role in ensuring that caregivers, especially mothers, have the ability to work outside the home,” said Jennifer March, executive director at CCC. “Alarmingly, our research shows that the vast majority of low-to middle-income households in New York City cannot afford any form of care. This isn’t just a family issue – this is a key part of a larger socio-economic crisis. When New York families, many of whom are headed by single women of color, can’t afford care, the ramifications are felt across communities and throughout our economy. These findings underscore the urgent need to develop public policies and allocate funding to provide affordable, equitable and high-quality child and out of school care for all families who need it.”

The report analyzes the affordability of care costs across a continuum of age cohorts from birth to age 12 – including full-day care for infant and toddlers (ages 0 to 2), full-day care for preschool-age children (ages 3 to 5), and out-of-school care for school-age children (ages 6 to 12) during the week before or after school hours, or on school holidays and breaks.

Among the key findings , CCC’s report finds that:

  • More than 80% of families with children under five cannot afford child care in New York City;
  • Nearly four out of five families citywide cannot afford out-of-school care for children ages 6 to 12;
  • Families in the Bronx and Brooklyn experience the highest child care cost burden. In these communities, the cost of child care or out-of-school care would consume up to more than half (63%) of their annual income;
  • A family with one infant and one preschool age child would spend nearly half (43%) of their income on center-based care and 36% of their income on home-based care.

“Our analysis shows that families with children are facing an impossible situation,” said Rimsha Khan, research associate at CCC and author of the report. “The financial burden of covering the cost of care is setting New Yorkers back, where parents are forced to spend a huge share of their household income on care while trying to manage rising rent expenses and stagnant wages.”

High-quality, affordable child care and out-of-school care are essential services and part of a larger system of services supporting children’s physical, verbal, cognitive and social-emotional well-being. Affordable or universal child care and out-of-school care must be a cornerstone of families’ economic security and mobility, and supports parental well-being by easing the challenge of coordinating multiple care arrangements to fit work schedules or household budgets. This analysis underscores the importance of addressing care affordability with public policies and budgets that ensure equitable access to high-quality services for all families.

Based on these findings, CCC is calling on government leaders to take action to secure sustainable funding, through a combination of City, State and Federal resources, protect service capacity and create a strong foundation upon which a path to universal care access can be paved. CCC recommends our elected officials:

  • Reject calls to cut 15% of city funds as this would trigger an immense loss of capacity in services children, youth and families desperately need to access and cannot afford.
  • Invest in salary parity in early childhood education (ECE) and rate reform in youth services to bring equity to systems, reduce staff turnover, and better support year round services.
  • Sustain commitments and continue to make progress on catching up on extensive payment delays in both systems.
  • Facilitate access to services by allowing on site enrollment in ECE and youth service settings and supporting a robust locally-rooted caregiver engagement and child/youth enrollment campaign.
  • Prepare for federal fiscal cliffs in both systems with a path to stability that protects capacity articulated no later than Prelim.

“The data uncovered by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York demonstrates the urgent need to invest in high-quality, early childhood education that meets the needs of New York’s families.”  said Tara N. Garder, executive director of the Day Care Council of New York “New York City’s early childhood provider organizations are working valiantly to ensure that families have the care they need and children get the early education they deserve. As CCC’s report shows, government must do more to provide support for New York’s families and the early childhood workforce which supports them.”

“CCC’s latest analysis confirms the full extent of the city’s child care crisis,” said Raysa S. Rodriguez, chief program and policy officer at FPWA. “It is a sobering fact that more than 80% of families are unable to afford care in New York City, and families in the Bronx and in Brooklyn still experience the highest cost burden. These communities, disproportionately Black and brown, spend up to 63% of their annual income on childcare or out-of-school care. This is a crisis that calls for bold action, not only to address the disparities in cost burden and access, but to also accurately measure the true cost of living and better align wages and supports to what we know are real costs for New Yorkers”

“Child care plays an essential role in a healthy city and a vibrant economy, yet, as CCC shows, the vast majority of families are priced out of this critical service,” said Susan Stamler, executive director of United Neighborhood Houses. “United Neighborhood Houses, as members of the Campaign for Children, continues to work alongside CCC to fight for an affordable early education and out-of-school system that meets the needs of children and families. The findings in CCC’s fact sheet highlight the urgency of our fight for operational improvements and sustainable funding.”

“Affordable childcare is a critical need of the communities we serve,” said Sharon Greenberger, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “As CCC’s report highlights, the majority of New Yorkers are unable to afford early childhood and after school care for their children. In order for our families, communities, and City to continue to grow and thrive, all levels of government must prioritize childcare. Now is the time for the City to protect the existing childcare system with a significant and sustainable investment, one that will strengthen the future of our youth, families, and City.”

“Childcare costs have soared consistently and significantly in recent years and have become a barrier to stable employment, especially for low-income families already confronting the high cost of living in New York,” said Michelle Yanche, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services. “For communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx, that is spending more than 60 percent of their annual income on childcare. If parents working full-time cannot afford out-of-school care for their children, then how are they going to support their families? We are urging city and state lawmakers to address this crisis. We need policies and investments that create affordable childcare so parents can earn a living to support their children’s health, education, and future.”

The report follows an analysis released by CCC in June on the unaffordable cost of child care for families with children under five, and the current comprehensive analysis of older children shows how families face the cost burden of care until their children are teenagers. It also comes after the release of a  year-long research project in May undertaken by CCC to elevate the voices of parents and providers and inform government decision-making on how to address under-enrollment across the city’s early care and education system, in which the high cost of care was a key barrier, including for families who may be enrolled in a school-day, school-year program, but need to pay out of pocket for out-of-school care.

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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 civic engagement. 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


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