The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Costs of Daycare Are Crippling for Many Working Families

Jun 26, 2023

The most recent version of an annual report on the costs of daycare confirms what many workers already know: dramatic increases in the costs are forcing workers, especially women with young kids, to change jobs, with negative consequences.

Fourteen percent of children younger than five lived in families with someone who had to quit, change or refuse a job due to childcare costs in 2021, the year upon which the report is based. This was more common for black and Latino children than for white children; 17% of black children and 16% of Latino children lived in families in such circumstances, compared with 10% of white children.

The number of parents facing job insecurity is on the increase, with 23% more children living in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment, compared with the year before.

The situation is much worse for women, who are eight times more likely than men to go through negative job consequences due to caregiving responsibilities, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy.

It’s not hard to see why so many are experiencing difficulties, considering childcare costs "have risen 220% since ... 1990, significantly outpacing inflation,” according to the report. Anne Kuhnen, the director of Kids Count, said, "A lot of parents have trouble finding childcare in the first place. Waitlists are long. and it can be difficult for families to find care that is compatible with their work schedules and their commute. Is it accessible by public transport, for example?" The average childcare costs for enrolling a toddler in daycare are over $11,000 a year, says the report.

Don’t believe for a second that the rising cost of daycare means that child care workers are well paid; 94% of child care workers are women, and they make less than those in 98% of all professions. The median national pay for child care workers was less than $14 per hour in 2022. And most child care workers report having difficulty paying for food and utilities in the last month, according to the report.

In the face of all this, the bosses and their media dare talk about a shortage of available workers. Duh!?! In a rational society, daycare would be made available so that workers could go to work, but that’s too much to ask in a system based solely on the goal of profit.