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Child care costs pinch family budget, report shows

Rising child care costs continue to strain families. A new report from Care.com found that rates for everything from nannies to after-school care have increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, as Fatherly reported.

Care.com’s ninth annual Cost of Care report digs into the hardships families endure so that their children have care during working hours, and the sacrifices parents make to afford that care.

Care.com found that 72% of families spend at least 10% of their income on child care, exceeding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services affordability threshold of 7%, and 51% of parents say they expect to pay at least 20% of the family income for care.

That is when parents are lucky enough to find the care they need. There has been a critical shortage of child care for some time, with about half of Americans living in “child care deserts,” areas with one spot for every three children needing care, according to a federal report.

Roughly 59% of parents are more concerned about the financial impact of child care than they were in previous years, the report shows, and 21% plan to leave or have left the workforce entirely in order to care for their children. Many said they would not grow their families because they cannot afford to care for them.