It’s no secret that the cost of child care is expensive. Well, now it’s doubly official, thanks to the Child Care Aware report that says it’s actually unaffordable in 49 of the 50 U.S. states. That’s crazy. Childcare shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be something accessible to all. Because if it’s not, it implies only a economic certain class of people can–or should–have children.
According to the Child Care Aware report, for instance, parents residing in Colorado and New York spend more than $14,000 a year on infant care. In California, Hawaii, and Illinois, parents spend over $13,000 a year, while in Massachusetts, parents pay more than $17,000 annually in childcare costs for their infants. Apparently, infant care is more than 7% of a family’s income in 49 states, which is the cutoff for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ percentage for affordability, according to Fortune.
The only state that has kept cost down is Louisiana, where parents spend about $5,754 a year on infant care (about 6.7% of a married family’s income). According to New York Magazine, the state also provides a refundable tax credit to families with incomes less than $25,000 who enroll their children at high-quality facilities.
While I’m glad that Louisiana is taking steps to help parents out, it’s absolutely inexcusable that the other 49 states aren’t making affordable childcare a priority. Not having proper childcare affects a family’s entire dynamic, which will continue to also negatively affect the family for the many years to come. That is not OK. Hopefully, Louisiana’s approach will help the other states rethink their own strategies.
Right now, however, this is how I feel:
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Joanna Valente is the former Staff Writer at Kveller. Joanna is the author of Sirs & Madams, The Gods Are Dead, Xenos, and Marys of the Sea, and received an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. You can follow @joannasaid on Twitter and @joannacvalente on Instagram.